Well hello there, Salty Runners!
I greet you in the final year of my 20′s. I can see the rest of you 20-somethings grimacing; I always thought aging was over at 25 too! Despite missing the days when I could stay up past midnight drinking copious amounts of liquid embarrassment, I am actually most proud of the latter half of this decade. These last few years haven’t been easy, but are much more braggable. And if that’s not a word, I vote we make it one.
I started running after the father of my 6-month-old infant dropped us at my parent’s doorstep, 75 miles out of the city in rural southern Ohio, where he promptly turned and left. I never saw him again. In order to keep my sanity, to think and to piece my life back together, I started running and haven’t stopped since. After 8 months of barely eating or functioning beyond caring for my son, running forced me to fuel my body and made me discover the inner and physical strength I had the whole time, and it saved my life.
Yep, I’m a single mother (Stand up. Raise hand). Initially, I thought I was the only one to exist and couldn’t stand the thought of myself with that tag line. In May 2010 I was unemployed, living with my parents, and emotionally and physically broken. I had lost all sense of identity and was frequently overwhelmed by my role as caregiver to a person who was entirely dependent on me, Miss Independent. When I lived in the city I played volleyball and basketball to satisfy my competitive nature, but back in the land of cornfields and gravel roads I was unsure how I could do the simple things that made me happy. Then one stressful January morning after yet another sleepless night, baby Jordan went down for a nap and I pulled on a sweatshirt, laced up some old Nikes, which probably weighed more than I did soaking wet, and told my parents I was going out for a run.
I don’t remember much of what happened that first 3 miler. I was just trying to give myself time away from life, to zone out, to feel something or nothing all at once. All I know is I was back at my car in what seemed like seconds and felt refreshed, productive, and most importantly, alive. The subsequent 8 miler and 10 miler went the same way, and I was hooked. I signed up and raced my first 5k in June 2011 (5ks hurt so much!), which led to 20+ races from 10k to my first full marathon at the 2013 Flying Pig.
Fast foward to March 2014 and I’m back to running on urban side streets, I have a successful career, and a strong relationship with a man who connected with me and with my son like I never thought anyone could. We are both runners and dabbling in CrossFit, and with that comes the problem of how we can both fit in our training with a child.
I know who I am now and I’m proud of it. The supportive running community, including this blog, which I have read every day for the past two years, has helped give me an identity and a place to belong. My daily tasks are driven by the strength I get from running. I’m fueled by that feeling you get at the starting line, when you are surrounded by people of all ages and demographics who have trained for weeks, months, and even years to get to this one place, elbow to elbow next to each other. It’s that excitement, anticipation and knowledge that I will succeed no matter what, because I have not looked back at a single run with regret.
I want to share with you, the Salty Running community, the things I have learned from running my way through this tumultuous world, so I chose the spice name Lavender as a constant reminder to take a deep breath and relax when life gets crazy. I know now not be scared of hitting rock bottom; it’s just the foundation for success. My personality is happier with structure. When events and people in my life acted completely out of my control, I learned to let that go and take control of me. That’s why I train hard and eat well. I strive to be the best me and I hope my posts will encourage you to do the same!