Time to Taper
October 18, 2017
Two years ago, I was at my heaviest non-pregnant weight ever. I was tired all the time, and I didn't play with my kids because I was embarrassed at how winded and tired I became. And I was depressed, following a head injury and post concussion syndrome. Something had to change. I felt like I was wasting my life, and missing out on my family, and the fun I "should" be having with my kids. I was tired of being a spectator, watching my life pass me by. I wanted to be involved, be engaged. I wanted to LIVE.
So I decided that I'd take action. I decided to try something I'd never done before, because only by doing something you've never done before, can you get results you've never previously experienced. I decided I'd learn to run.
Why running? Well, my boys are very active, and both of them were into TriKids Triathlons in the summer. I wanted to experience that event WITH them...I wanted to run along side my youngest, then 4 years old, while he biked and ran across the finish line. I wanted to do it with him, not watch from the side lines.
So, I signed up for a Learn to Run clinic with my local Running Room in February 2016, and ran my first 5K in May 2016. By then, I was hooked! I had experienced a runners high for the first time in my life, and it felt AMAZING. And I was building my self confidence...proving to myself that I could do things I never thought were possible. When I started the clinic, running for 1 minute felt like my lungs were going to give up on me. But I perservered. Each week, I added time to my running interval, even if I thought I couldn't, I tried, and I succeeded! It was incredible how empowered I felt! How the shame and doubt melted away.
Naturally, 5K quickly turned into 10K, which lead to my first half marathon this past June. For the half, I joined another clinic to learn to train properly, and I was overwhelmed with the encouragement, support and inspiration that group of people gave to me. It didn't matter how fast or slow I was, nor did my age or my size matter. What mattered is that we were all there for one reason...a love of running.
Running has given me so much more than I ever could have imagined. It has given me physical strength, health and endurance. More energy. Community. The feeling of acceptance, without fear of judgement. Mostly, it has given me a deeper relationship with myself. I have more confidence, because I have proven to myself I can do hard things, and I can perservere when things get hard. Running is like meditation for me when I'm on my long slow runs. It provides white space for my mind to go blank, be mindful and take in what is going on around me. I am grateful for the time I get to spend admiring the way the sunlight shines through the trees or reflects off the water. The way the rain feels as it washes over me. The sound of the birds. The smell of the morning dew. Running has given me the opportunity to succeed, and to recognize and be proud of those accomplishments, by setting small goals and celebrating every step I make towards achieving those goals. It has given me space to practice forgiving myself, and being kind to myself on a bad run day. And it has given me wings to soar on the incredible high of a race environment, even though I'm never out to set a record. Running is about setting my personal best every time, and ignoring the temptation for comparison...for comparison is the thief of happiness. Running has helped me to realize that it is ok for me to take care of myself, for only by fulfilling my needs, can I look after the needs of others. Running has allowed me to rediscover myself, and become an active participant in my life again.
I will forever be grateful to running. But I know that I couldn't have done it without the encouragement and inspiration of my run club. These people are like family to me now. I feel that everyone deserves the opportunity to feel the empowerment running can offer, and the support of a like-minded, non-competitive group of people in their corner, cheering them on every step of the way. And THAT's what 261 Fearless is all about.
261 Fearless wrote -
261 Fearless, Inc. is a global non-profit organization founded by pioneer runner, Kathrine Switzer. 261 Fearless uses running as a vehicle to empower and unite women globally through the creation of communication platforms, clubs, training opportunities, ambassadors, merchandising and events. Through these networking opportunities, 261 Fearless breaks down the barriers of geography and creates a global community for women runners of all abilities to support and talk to each other, encouraging healthy living and a positive sense of self and fearlessness.
It is the mission of 261 Fearless to bring active women together through a global supportive community – allowing fearless women to pass strength gained from running and walking onto women who are facing challenges and hence sparking a revolution of empowerment. 261 is the symbol that unites us as empowered runners and walkers.
The 2017 Boston Marathon is the 50th Anniversary of Kathrine's historic run as the first woman to run the marathon, wearing an official race bib (261) in the all-male event. She had to fend off an angry race director at mile two. After finishing that race, Kathrine dedicated her life to providing opportunities around the world for women to run. 261 Fearless, Inc. is the legacy of inclusion and empowerment that she will pass to others. All fundraisers on TEAM 261 FEARLESS will line up on the Boston Marathon start line with Kathrine to celebrate another half century of women running. Together, we celebrate fearlessness on the streets of Boston.
The funds raised will go to setting up global 261 Clubs, training programs, a powerful communications network and events so that women, many in fearful places, are made fearless by your efforts. In particular, we need the ability to bring our 261 Club model of social, non-competitive running to women all over the world; we know creating the community of running women transforms them, and we need to get our training and support team out into the communities who need and want a club the most.