Why I Started Running

I plan on getting back into running. I used to love it. This post is mainly for motivation for myself. 

Not everyone knows why I started running, so I'd thought I'd tell my story.

My Dad was diagnosed with Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma in January 2005.  After going through six  treatments of chemotherapy, God saw fit to keep my dad alive and he went into remission after just the second treatment! My big and strong dad physically was at an all time low after chemo. He couldn't even do a sit up, the very same man who worked on a farm all his life! He was determined to take control over his health and continue to be there for his family. That's when all our eating habits changed as a family. We rarely have fried chicken now. Grilled chicken, asparagus, and quinoa is more so on the menu each week than not. Not only did our eating habits change, my dad started becoming more active. His running motto is "Running for my Life". And he literally is by keeping his body fit and maintaining alkalinity, which is key to keeping those cancer. He runs to keep living for us all. There are A LOT of people that depend on and love him. 
(Basically, he's the best.)

So how did I get started?

Well, the summer before my junior year, I was a late night cell phone abuser. I stayed up late talking on the phone and used a lot of minutes doing so. I thought I was being so sneaky and cool with my silver flip phone. Until one summer afternoon, Dad got the phone bill and found me out! Also, whoever thought it was a good idea to put what time the phone is being used on the bill totally ratted me out. Thanks AT&T. Anyways, Dad took my phone away. Like a little teenager, I was aggravated. Maybe even a little bratty. I would do anything to have that "precious" phone back. 

So dad said, "you can have this phone back if you run 3 miles without stopping." 

WHAT?? The very idea! I was somewhat athletic growing up, as in, I joined the golf team in middle school to be with my friends. Also, my parents said I had a better chance at getting a full ride to college with a golf scholarship over any other sport since not many played. So, I wasn't that athletic, I mean, I didn't run for golf, that's for sure! I did play tennis, however, and we ran around the school during practice and, while I did get winded fast, I could still do it... right?

So I said, "Alright dad. I'll do it!"

I think Dad was really shocked I said yes, so he said, "Your Aunt Karen is going to run with you the whole time to make sure you don't stop."

Oh crap. Well, whatever. I was pretty determined so I still agreed.

So one hot summer evening, we ran from the house and did a 3 mile trail we have had mapped out in a subdivision when Dad first began running (a trail that I could now run blindfolded). Now it was hard, but it wasn't that hard. I just had to find my pace. I know I was not fast at all, but I did it and WITHOUT STOPPING! 

Dad gave me my phone back and admitted that he should have just grounded me since He originally thought I couldn't do it. Ah, dad, I was at the mere age of 16. I could do anything I set my mind to. especially if my phone privileges were on the line.

Then Dad started asking me if I wanted to go for a run with him, and I surprisingly did want to! It became a fun way to connect with my dad and what little girl doesn't want that.

We started running 5K's. We ran one almost every weekend that summer! I began to shed a lot of weight and it changed my mentality. Everything became relatable to running. It's such a mental sport! I do more praying on the pavement than anywhere else. I bettered myself physically, emotionally, and spiritually. It wasn't easy at all but finding your pace makes it much more enjoyable. 

Post half-marathon, rushing to get home to get ready for my first Prom!
We moved from 5K's to 10K's and then I did my first half marathon the morning of my Junior Prom! That was crazy but I still danced the night away and wasn't sore!

From there, we just kept running. It turned into a family thing from the beginning, Mom, Jacob, and Alex later joined. We are a tight-knit family anyways, but this gave us something healthy and fun to do together. We have cousins and aunts that run with us too, which is fun. Not to mention the running friends who turned into family along the way!

Morning 5K

Evening 5K

Every time my parents came to see me in college, we ran a 5K. This particular trip we ran two in one day! So fun!

In fact, we ran so many 5K's that we all have several running t-shirt blankets. This one is special because it's Dad's running shirts that he told me to make for myself, so I'll always have him with me. I made it with my Grandmother so it makes it even more special.

We love running the 4th of July 10K in Lexington, KY.

Running gives us endorphins and endorphins make you happy (and sassy).

This was my first Bourbon Chase experience. It's a 200 mile race from Bourbon distillery to distillery in central KY, where we are from. We don't run for the booze, just the fun overnight running experience with our group. Each team has 14(?) runners who split up the 200 miles in 24 hours. It's a whole lot of fun. If you ever get the chance to do it, do it!

Completing the Bourbon Chase together.

Another Saturday training for my first Marathon. I started training the summer of 2014 while my husband was deployed for the second time to Afghanistan, but that's a story in itself that I'll tell another day.

Our Marathon Group! We did the Savannah Rock N Roll race. Beautiful city!

Before we started the Bourbon Chase. Family. Old friends & New friends.

Getting our Marathon Bibs!

The morning of our Marathon!

We finished and made it out alive. 
I found my dad around mile 14. He didn't leave my side and we ran all the way to mile marker 26.2 with me. He's my biggest motivator and encourager, especially when it comes to running. He's done so much in my life to better me so that I can see the positive side to things. It's because of running that I can appreciate and see life differently and thats just thanks to my dad. He is why I started running. 

Thank you for giving me a hobby that pushes me past my limits, makes me stronger physically and mentally, improves my prayer life, and joins friends and family together. 

It's so, so much more than running!

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