I just finished another race – nearly 70 now. But running half marathons is more than earning medals (although I do love those!). It’s learning more about life, friendship, and doing hard things—together. What inspires you to “go the distance?” Let me know! #beyondmywildest
I did it. I fought the Dark Side. And I kicked Vader’s butt.
I just ran another race – the inaugural Star Wars Half Marathon–The Dark Side at Disney World. That’s nearly 70 races for me now, which is unbelievable considering I couldn’t run to my mailbox at age 50.
WHAT RUNNING MEANS TO ME
Now more than a decade later, running has become something that fuels every part of my life. It’s taught me about overcoming adversity (blisters the size of a baseball? horrific cramping? keep going Larsen!). It’s carried me through some of my hardest times (I ran every two months during my fight against breast cancer, to keep my focus on living, not dying). And it’s brought me closer to people I love (races with my son Randy and grandson Zach, my beloved co-workers and running posse!).
As I shared in my memoir, Beyond My Wildest, it all started when my nephew, Bryan, came to live with us (one of many times that beloved rascal came to stay). He was overcoming some huge obstacles at the time, and announced he wanted to run a marathon as part of his path to a better life. I thought that was great, until he begged me to do it with him. I tried to say no, but was never very good at that, so we started training.
I was proud when I could get around the block. But then I took it farther, and thanks to help from Team in Training (the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society’s program), Bryan, and co-workers who joined me, we got ready for our first race, the Rock n’ Roll Marathon in San Diego.
I have no idea how I finished that race, but somehow I crossed the finish line, in tears, with Bryan (who had been injured just before the race), running the last mile with me. It changed my life, as many hard things have, and it’s brought me a lot of joy since.
If you’ve ever thought about running, I say do it. It’s a chance to earn a medal, even in your old age (it’s all about the medals, right?!), and it’s an even greater opportunity to learn a lot about yourself, and support great causes along the way.
I’m grateful to Bryan for inspiring me 13 years ago, and for all who have run alongside me since. And I’m grateful for a dad who always reminded me, “Failure is not an option.”
Take that, Vader!
Learn more about my adventures in running–and life–in my book, available at www.beyondmywildest.com. Net proceeds from the book go to our foundation, AmberCo, to help struggling mothers and young women thrive.