We all run for different reasons. Some run to get away, some run to find their way back. Some run for their cardio or to get some nature time. Others run to catch up with a friend or to train for a race. I know personally my reasons have changed over the years. In high school I used to run for one reason – to be fast. It was my sole purpose as a sprinter on the track team. In college, I used to run for exercise (and to fit into midriff shirts…if we are being real). In my twenties, a lot of my running was to be social; races were events we dressed up for and usually involved mud. My thirties brought a different kind of running; running became a way to test my limits. Between my anemia and the years of wear and tear on my body, running is not easy. I am not supposed to run long distances between iron infusions, but I often find a way to push through it because I don’t want to be held back. I had to learn the balance between strength of mind and strength of body. I run now because I am grateful for it.
Over the past few years I have also started to run with an intention in mind. I put a little note into my armband or write something on my kinesio tape before every race. It is usually a quote or the name of someone I am running for that day. Running for something bigger than me or in honor of someone I love pushes me forward during those tough stretches. Having a reason makes those miles even more worth it. My two biggest sources of inspiration in life are mothers and runners. I love to hear how other women find the strength and time to do both things well. Both jobs take a lot of determination, guts, and a tremendous amount of love. One mom in particular comes to mind when I think of someone who inspires me on and off the road – my fellow run club member and friend, Margi.
I have written about my run club before. It is a very special group of ladies to me. We have seen each other through many trials and triumphs over our time together, and it was through this group that I met Margi. During our first year running together those Wednesday night runs would be our time to catch up, compare mommy notes, and get a little mid-week break/beer. Margi is easy to love with her sharp wit and pretty smile, and the girl brings a whole new set of wheels come race day. If I want to PR anything I try to run in her draft. Last fall, Margi had planned to run her first half marathon in Hartford with the run club crew. However, in the months leading up to the race her baby Sophia became very ill. Margi and her husband Ryan spent many sleepless nights in and out of hospitals waiting on a diagnosis. The week of the race Sophia ended up in the hospital again for a longer stay at Boston Children’s Hospital, and Margi missed the Hartford Half. Margi’s good friend Colleen (and world’s sweetest person) rallied everyone up and had Sophia Strong shirts made for that weekend. Everyone running or watching that day from our crew wore these shirts in support. That’s one of the beautiful things about runners, they rally around each other and they will always run for a cause close to their heart.
During the weeks that followed, Margi would have to miss out on a lot of runs, but each time she would come back more determined to reach her goal of running a half marathon. Sophia was eventually diagnosed with a rare metabolic disorder, and a treatment plan was put in place. Margi had to find a way to balance training and caring for Sophia, which often meant long runs after dark with the run club and early morning boot camps. She always gets it done. She went on to run her first half marathon this summer. I was there watching as she came cruising down the last stretch with a smile on her face, wearing her Sophia Strong shirt, while her family waited for her at the finish line. As she kissed her daughter’s head after the race, it was evident that her reason for running that day was Sophia. They had made it. Margi had pushed through the 13.1 miles just as she had the uncertainty of the past year – with determination, guts, and a tremendous amount of love.
**After the half Margi’s running goals continued to grow in honor of Sophia. Because she is “Sophia Strong” and forever grateful to Boston Children’s hospital, Margi is signed up to run The New York City Marathon in November. She will be running on Boston Children’s training team, Miles for Miracles. If you would like to learn more about Sophia’s story and Margi’s inspiration and show your support. Check out her webpage http://fundraise.childrenshospital.org/goto/SophiaStrong and keep on running for a reason.