#twentysixpointtwo

Running a marathon, let alone running at all, was an idea so foreign to me that I thought people were nuts for doing it. I’m certain not long ago I stated that I was never going to run a distance so long that I needed to eat DURING the run. A year ago I had never tasted a GU, owned a Garmin watch, knew what PR meant or was aware of what I was truly capable of. My runs just gradually got longer. My first long run was doing a 1/2 marathon relay with Katherine. I remember Dianna and Kendra running the full 1/2 that same day and being in awe of their tenacity and strength. I dreamt that would be me someday, but was so sure I could never run 13.1 miles. Shortly after that, I was a spectator at Cellcom watching two great friends complete the 1/2 marathon. I had chills the entire morning watching, that’s when I truly got the itch to run. Katherine urged me to sign up for my first 1/2 marathon and we spent an entire summer training together. Some of my favorite times of that summer were our early morning or late night runs and chats. My most favorite time to run is in the morning before work, before the sun is up and more importantly, before the boys are awake. Running any sort of distance is a huge commitment and can mean hours of running during the week. Getting my hours in before the day starts works for me. Being a mom is my world…but being a healthy mom and happy mom is icing on the cake. I committed myself to running 20 months ago and have since ran 3 organized 1/2 marathons (many more with marathon training) and, as of yesterday, 1 marathon. I’ve gone through 5 pairs of running shoes, ran over 700 miles in 2014 and am already over 500 miles in 2015 and much more importantly found something that I love. I love to run.

I feel like this is turning into an acceptance speech, but I can’t acknowledge my running and not acknowledge those that have helped me along the way. I have been taught, encouraged, supported and loved by my three incredible friends Kendra, Dianna and Katherine. I am a runner because they are runners. Simply put. The hours spent running together aren’t measurable…they are endless. The friendship is priceless and the conversations are perfect. The runs are just as much therapeutic as they are aerobic, that’s for sure. There are so many people in my life that have cheered me on and encouraged me all along the way. There seems to be a running club of those that have been in my shoes before. I can’t possibly mention everyone that has asked about a run or wished me luck. But my friends and coworkers Jenna, Jessica and Kristy have been some of my biggest cheerleaders. They hear me talk about running at work, my blister saga, carb loading meals and they even came to my first 1/2 marathon and first marathon. I am so lucky. My dad, mom and mother in law have been so supportive and even watched the boys so I could get a long run in when Justin wasn’t home. It’s hard to understand someone’s passion, but they truly do. Dianna, my neighbor, Boston qualifier marathoner, one of the most athletic people I know and most importantly one of my dearest friends, tirelessly trained me for my first full marathon. We have spent hours talking and running and then talking some more. I am certain I would not have crossed the finish line without her or Katherine running by my side. Justin coined the term ‘WWDD’, ‘what would Dianna do?’. Dianna makes quick decisions for me when I am otherwise paralyzed in analysis. Cullen and Declan have noticed that their mom is a runner. On mornings I don’t run, they ask why. I get back from a run and they don’t tell me they missed me, they ask me how my run was. My kids are first, before any run, but they have seen me make a healthy example and see me work for something that is difficult. Tonight Cullen said, ‘Declan, let’s run around and pretend we are running a marathon like mom!’ Priceless! And Justin, I don’t really have words. We both work full time and balance our busy lives, but he has NEVER made me feel like I shouldn’t get in a run. In fact, there were many times he encouraged me to run when I really wasn’t feeling up to it. He always says, ‘you’ll never regret a run’. He has encouraged and supported me in so many ways, and listened to my endless hours of running talk. He’s my sounding board. My biggest fan. My hero. At the end of these thoughts, I am most proud of myself. I’m proud of running a marathon, that’s for sure. But I am most proud about what I am doing for myself. Taking the time to be healthy, be happy, reach goals and make friendships.

I am not a runner, I am a marathoner.

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