Become a Member

Get access to more than 30 brands, premium video, exclusive content, events, mapping, and more.

Already have an account? Sign In

Become a Member

Get access to more than 30 brands, premium video, exclusive content, events, mapping, and more.

Already have an account? Sign In

Brands

Culture

How Changing Your Mindset Can Help You Get Back Into It

After losing her mother, one runner realized she had to find motivation within.

Get access to everything we publish when you sign up for Outside+.

IMG_20160214_112730467

In March of 2012, at 29 years old, I was stressed out, weighed 170 lbs and was in a verbally abusive relationship. I needed a change. My goal was to complete a 5K.

My strength was tested many times. In May 2012 my mom was hit by a car while walking on the sidewalk, injuring her leg and her head. A year later, she was diagnosed with moderate to severe dementia. She could perform household tasks but not hold a conversation. In February 2013 my beloved horse died, leaving me devastated.

I turned to running. I ran sporadically the first year but completed three 5K races—the first in 45 minutes. I decided to run the Boilermaker 15K on my 30th birthday.

I ran for my mother. I wanted to give her everything I could. Underprepared, I ran 15K. Because of hot and humid weather, I had to dig deep to finish before the cutoff. I cried at the finish. After I signed up for my first half marathon. I also decided to someday run the Boston Marathon for my mom.

I realized I could succeed at distance running. So I signed up for another half marathon in March and my first full marathon on October.

Sidelined by my injury, I had to be realistic. I learned that running my first marathon should be more about finishing. I did finish my first full, and I was able to get an extra race medal to give to my mom.

Even though I had suffered injuries to my foot and IT band, I continued to train for half and full marathons. Running had helped me cope with loss and the threat of loss. I gave it my all. I even signed up for a 39.3-mile challenge in Maine so my parents could see me run.

Because of the struggles I have faced, I was able to help a friend get through her first half. As we crossed the finish line together, I said, “I told you I would get you to the finish.” It was an amazing feeling.

Each race, there were struggles. But I was running for my mom and dad. They helped push me through. Even total strangers helped push me through. When I crossed the finish line of the 39.3 challenge, I kissed the ground and was rewarded not only with two medals, but also with the happy and proud look on the faces of my family.

Three months later, I lost my mom. I wanted to give up. I wanted to stop running. I felt like my dream and goal of running the Boston Marathon meant nothing anymore without my mom there. But while I was home, my friends and family told me to go out and run.

I picked up running again, yet it didn’t feel the same anymore. My friends encouraged me and would not let me give up. They told me I could still run for my mom and that it would help me. I didn’t believe them. I continued to struggle. However it helped me escape the hurt and pain my heart felt. I ended up signing up for the Marine Corps Marathon and began running for me.

“I love you and miss you, but it is time for me to run for me. I will run in your memory, but not for you.”

I have never done things for me. I have always done things to make my parents proud of me. However running has taught me that I can do things for myself. So on Feb 14, I ran the A1A Fort Lauderdale Marathon for me.

There were many times I could have given up with running, but I didn’t. I do not quit.