Prior to this spring, if you had told me that I would begin training for a half marathon, I would have laughed in your face. Runner? Me? Hilarious.
I began my running journey in 2015. I was a new wife and a second year high school English teacher. And I was stress-eating my way out of the biggest pair of jeans I’d ever bought. I felt miserable and just… gross. (Adulting is hard, guys.) So, like the majority of America, I set a New Year’s Resolution to get fit, but I had no idea how to do it. My friend Kayla invited me to start the Couch to 5K program and I was just desperate enough to say yes. I vividly remember her saying, “Don’t worry, it eases you into it.”
Yeah, right. Two weeks later, I was huffing my way through the 60 and 90 second interval runs around our school gym, shooting glares at her with every step. I complained every minute of it– Why were we doing this again? How am I supposed to run a 5K when I can’t run a minute without dying? And why did the trainer’s voice have to be so peppy? But Kayla pushed me through it, encouraging me (read: bullying me) at just the right moments. I began to love running and I successfully ran my first 5K in June 2015. I was so proud of my accomplishment!
But we had just started an intensive graduate program, and our focus toward our classes (paired with the summer heat) caused us to fall out of our running routine pretty quickly. So long, progress. Hello, research paper.
After several rounds of a cross-training routine in the winter, Kayla came to me in February with a goal to run a half marathon. She had run several during college, so she knew what it was like. Obviously, I only started running last year– and at that point, a 5K had seemed like a stretch. But after achieving that hurdle, I decided to go for it. I knew if I paid for my registration, I would stick to it and I needed the push to stay with running throughout the year. We began with Couch to 5K again and I quickly acclimated back into my running routine (not without the occasional grumbling).
In May, Nichole approached us about joining the Dream Team. We were quite familiar with ISF because our football team and school supported the foundation each year with a Purple Out game and spirit day. I’d also seen my high school friend Brenna run in honor of Isabella multiple times in the past and knew her story well. Needless to say, Kayla and I went all out in the fall and were quite the spectacle at school and the football game.
Neither one of us hesitated at the invitation. For me, ISF hits close to home. I lost a classmate and friend to osteosarcoma in 7th grade–she was just a kid, and one of the sweetest in our class. If you’re a Charlotte native or have lived here for more than ten years, you probably know Hope’s story. I’ve lost several family members to various forms of cancer and my best friend is currently battling leukemia. Cancer gets personal. But it’s even more personal when it affects a child and it is insulting that it is one of the least funded research programs in our country.
Joining the Dream Team gives me the opportunity to fight back against pediatric cancer and it gives me a purpose in my running goals. I’ve pushed past my previous ability and just hit a major milestone when I ran my first 10K several weeks ago on at the Common Heart Firecracker Run with a few other Dream Team friends.
I’m excited to be a member of the Dream Team for the 2016 season and I’m ready for the challenges ahead. I love the camaraderie of the team and we have already begun building new friendships–and we are only two weeks in. I’m grateful for the opportunity to run for something more and to join the fight against pediatric cancer. And above all, I’m honored to run for Ibby.