Running with Purpose
For me, the best job on earth is being a Mom. I became a mom after I had turned thirty, and haven’t looked back since. I do my best to set a healthy example for our two boys by having fun outside and simultaneously staying active. Children learn from watching us and emulate what we do. It’s important to me to provide them with many opportunities to be active so they can develop their own love for it. I grew up outdoors camping and hiking and I want my kids to appreciate and love nature as much as I do.
Of course I had “planned” on only gaining 20 lbs as I grew my beautiful babies. This ended up not being the case, as my love for veggies diminished and the nausea kicked in. You would have thought I was continuously carb loading for a marathon! Um, no…no….just eating a crap load of bread because that was all that sounded good to me. My babies were happy and healthy and that’s all that mattered to me. Fast forward a few years to 2013. I decided I needed a good challenge to help me continue to get back into shape after having my boys. So the logical thing to do was sign up for a half marathon, right!!? Well it sounded like a good idea at the time, plus I have always loved a good physical challenge. I grew up as an athlete, so sports and exercise weren’t new to me, but [gulp] I had never ran that far in distance. I made a 12 week plan which included 5-6 days a week of strength training, speed work, hills and distance running with a goal to finish as strong as possible. I completed my first race, which was a half marathon and became a #motherrunner, and yes I proudly “hashtag” that! Wow! I really found joy in this “running” thing. I began to fall in love with running because it was challenging, freeing, healthy, exhausting and completely satisfying. I enjoyed pushing myself because I wanted to improve and find the best version of myself. Running made me feel strong and accomplished.
The following year in 2014, was when I ran two more races and really considered myself a runner. At the end of this year, my mom, who had watched and cheered for me as I had crossed my first finish line, was diagnosed with kidney cancer. Our world felt shattered. We held on to each other tightly and we wore our orange Kidney Cancer Awareness bracelets in support of her. She had surgery shortly after and we thought that we had won the battle. A couple months later in 2015, I began training for my next half marathon with my mom always on my mind. Half way through training we found out her cancer had survived and spread. My heart, my legs and my spirit felt so heavy. I couldn’t pull it together mentally or physically to focus or train, so I pulled out of that race. My mom will always be my hero and is a true warrior. At the end of that summer, she was doing alright and she continued to battle on. I started to get that running itch again. My heart felt light and I knew it was time to start training again. But this time around, I was no longer running to just get back in shape; I was running for my mom too. She couldn’t walk and I felt like every time I laced up, I was running for her. I would send her pictures from my routes which were usually of beautiful beaches or mountains and this made her so happy. It was around this time that I found the online running community, around nine months ago. I have found so much strength and inspiration through the stories and friends I’ve found there. I completed another half marathon a couple of months ago and will continue to work on being better than I was yesterday and run for those who can’t. I’m still not a “small” runner by any means, but that’s okay, I’m a strong runner and I like to eat!! But I will never let my size dictate if I can run or not. Nor will I ever use it as an excuse. I will let my work ethic, focus and sheer determination dictate that! I am always looking forward to my next race. Make a plan, stick to it the best you can by finding the balance in life and if you stumble just get back up, dust yourself off and just go for it!
By all means, feel free to lose yourself in running, because you may find yourself there too, like I did. Cheers!
Written by Sarah Borek
Sarah’s running journey continues on Instagram @run_mama_run