I’ve had a simple goal for the past 11 years: to give my children the best childhood I possibly can. I’m juggling work, marriage, parenting and my sanity all the time. For 11 years I have told myself “it’s not my time” to push my exercise. “It’s not my time” to sleep in on a Sunday. “It’s not my time” to take on a hobby. It is my time to freeze on the soccer field, cry at kindergarten graduations, volunteer on field trips and lay the foundation for my children so they can thrive and flourish. While the kids are at school, I kick into professional mode. At work as a nutritionist, it’s my time to laser focus on my clients, their goals, health and wellness. Both my kids and my clients inspire me. I’m grateful that they give me purpose and I feel rewards in my hard work all the time. I’ve decided “it’s still not my time” for me to take center stage in my own life, but I really need to spend more time working on myself with purpose. A month before my 40th birthday, I decided to train and run the NYC marathon.
Before June I had never run a mile. I’m doing this crazy 26.2 as a charity fundraiser for Dylan Hockley, a friend lost in the Sandy Hook tragedy in December 2012. My family lived in Newtown for 5 years and some of my closest friends still live there. It has been impossibly hard and painful not to see them and hug them daily.
As I run, I’m pounding out my feelings of being haunted with sadness and grief.
- I’m thinking of Dylan, who loved purple and butterflies, and hopeful that my run will contribute to a legacy of goodness that came from him and his amazing family.
- I’m thinking of my children and hopeful that the hours away from them, training, focusing on my body and endurance will teach them that their bodies are full of potential. If I can do this, so can they.
- I’m thinking of my clients, who have run marathons with an extra 50 pounds on them, or after a fight with near deadly cancer, or after menopause, a life change or terrible loss. If they can do it, so can I.
- I’m thinking of how good it feels to be a road warrior. Fit. Strong. Tired. Hungry. Blistered. Injured. Emotional.
- I’m thinking how grateful I am to have a family I adore. A boss (I call Keri Boss-lady) who supports me like a sister. And an army of women, friends, fathers, children and loved ones who bring me to tears with their encouragement.
- I’m running for a giant bowl of orecchiette with broccoli rabe, garlic and spicy tomato sauce, a cold beer, a hot bath and my bed.
It has been terrifying and brilliant to take this time for myself. So far in my training, I’ve run 18 miles (it isn’t pretty, but that’s ok). What I have learned is that we are not limited by our bodies. Our minds are the place we get stuck, discouraged, polluted. For any of you who feel like it isn’t your time, or that you aren’t a good enough runner to do a marathon, or that there’s always next year, I hope my journey inspires you. I know it has inspired my children and my clients, which in turn inspires me to get through one more mile. You don’t need tragic motivation to run a marathon. You just need to decide it is your time, and take it. There is always a finish line waiting for you.