Let me just start by saying:
I don't know what I'm doing.
That's right, I have no idea what I'm doing with this blog. Yet. What I do know is that running and a couple of special blogs have influenced me greatly. So much so, that I am inspired to share my experiences.
One year ago, I sat with my two children (then 21 months and 1 month) wondering how I was going to do it. My spouse had just deployed, I started graduate school for speech-language pathology in August, and the walls were closing in. I was scared, stressed, and overwhelmed to say the least.
Fast forward to November. I'm a basket case of stress, anxiety, and entirely too busy to enjoy life. As I thought I couldn't handle one more thing, all hell broke loose: my father-in-law passed away. Several tough phone calls later, my husband was on his way home for emergency leave to attend the services. This truly was the turning point for me. During his leave he wanted to get new running shoes, but hated the ones he had. I took him to the local running store to get fitted, as I had no idea what was wrong with the Sauconys we'd picked out for him a little over a year ago. With two kids in the store to entertain, I began "test-driving" the double jogging stroller they had in the store. Staff members noticed how much the kids liked the stroller and asked if I was a runner. I replied that I had been a on-again-off-again runner in my twenties, but hadn't run since I became pregnant with my son more than three years ago. My husband, ever the practical man, suggested I get fitted for shoes too since my feet had likely changed since pregnancy. Two days later my husband gave me the greatest gift he's given me (with the exception of our two children): a double jogging stroller.
It doesn't seem like that should trump other gifts, but it has. That stroller became my ticket to leave the house, to get back to the sport I loved, to a community of women who supported me and that have become some of my best friends, and to a community of athletes who continue to teach me so much. That stroller opened the door between who I was and who I wanted to be.
Throughout the past six months, running has influenced every part of my life. I'm learning to be mentally tough and applying that skill to challenges in graduate school. I'm learning how to set attainable goals and persevere working toward them. I'm learning to challenge myself and to believe in my ability to meet that challenge. I'm learning I am stronger and more capable of great things than I give myself credit for. I truly believe the benefits of running have helped me to become a better mother, a stronger student, and a better athlete; overall, a better person.
I thank God for that double stroller; it put me on the road to new goals, new PRs, and to myself. Thank you, babe. You may not realize the import of that gift, but I do. I definitely do.
Gotta run. :)