If you ever want affirmation of your accomplishments, just ask me and I will remind you. I was there as we walked into the counselor’s office who assured you that your eating disorder was real and you would not be cured overnight. I was under the bed as I silently listened to you sob as the reality set in that you would have a tough road ahead of you. But I crossed my laces and bit my tongue, as I knew that you would be strong enough to work through this…..and I was right. Within a week you were putting me on and headed to the gym to start your journey. I had no idea what the journey would look like, but I knew I was going to be with you every step of the way. We ran on that treadmill and every time you jumped off trying to quit, I jumped back on because I knew you could do it. As your confidence built, I could see we would be spending a lot of time together and this made me happy. We had a bond that would change both of our lives forever.
I was pleasantly surprised to hear we would be performing our first challenge together. We would be doing a 5K race in just a few months. Once you set this goal, we were off and running. On you runs, I could hear the doubt creeping into your thoughts and yet we pushed through. I have to say, I was never more proud of you than the day you laced me up in April 2012. You were full of excitement, but I could feel you shake with fear wondering if you would be able to do this. I walked you to the start line, even as you contemplated running away. As the gun signaled the start you were frozen, but I took that first step and you did the rest. I caught those tears as they fell from your eyes realizing you had just crossed the finish line. That was a very special day!
With a little bit of encouragement, we found a local run club. That first day was scary. We were late (of course you were) and had to start the run by ourselves. Maybe it was better that way. We took off in the direction they were running and about halfway through our run, I knew this run club would be perfect for you. You would find friends who would love you for who you are (even though you felt flawed). These girls and guys helped give you the courage to venture out and learn to let others in. Thank you River Run Club!
From that moment, you never looked back. We were off to the races…..literally. You were signing up for races like they were going out of style. But yet, you kept me around. We even journeyed across the US to do some hiking with Ali Vincent. I remember how nervously excited you were sitting in the car at the base of the hill of the Hollywood sign. I was not even sure you were going to get out. But you mustered up the courage to get out and mingle. As we hiked up the hill, I heard you share your story with Ali and I knew that this was going to be a turning point in your life…..and it was.
Once back in NC, we hit the ground running. We were doing 5Ks and even an impromptu 8K. I was not sure I was ready for that one, but you took me anyway. Once you had a taste of racing, you wanted more. We began training for our first Half together. Oh the miles we put in not only on the pavement but in the air. You were traveling around to run races – Tinker Bell Half Marathon in California, Kicks for Kids and the Cheetah Run in Cincinnati, Diva Half Marathon in Myrtle Beach, SC. I have enjoyed running all the races in Raleigh too. I was a little worried if you would come back when you left me in the transition area with your bike when you did your first Triathlon, but sure enough you came back soaking wet, slipped me on and off we rode. Even though you wanted to quit when we got back, I reminded you that I was here and off we went on the run. Crossing the finish line with you was an unforgettable moment.
The day you signed up for the Full Marathon, I worried if I would be able to “support” you on this journey. I knew I wanted to be there, but wondered if I should pass the torch to one of my friends to carry on this journey with you. I knew someday I would be replaced and this just might be the time. I want you to know that I am okay with our journey ending here because I know that your journey still continues. I am so proud of everything you have accomplished during our time together. You are the strongest woman I know. Just remember, anytime doubt starts to creep back into your thoughts, I am here, under the bed, to remind you of your accomplishments.