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Because I can...

I was a dancer.
In junior high, high school, and college my sport was dance.  And, although I didn’t have a lot of technical training, I enjoyed it and wasn’t half bad. I loved being on a dance team.  Post college, I even taught dance at the park district.  But after I had Jayden, I hung up my dance shoes.

Never in a million years would I have thought I would start running at 33.

In fact, I cringe to call myself a runner because I know “runners.” I married one.  The ones that have PR's, run miles in 1/2 my time, and talk in a language I don’t understand. 

Have you ever tried running if you are a non-runner?  It’s hard.  All those side cramps, leg cramps, blisters, and sweat?  Tough stuff to work though.  And for us “hard core outdoor” runners, we battle the elements.  I started running in February of this year, which I think may have been the longest winter ever in IL.   Snow? Run. Rain? Run. Hot? Run/Walk.  I have tried it all.  Emphasize TRY.  

A lot of it is mental.  Which is harder.  I have numerous coversations with myself about how far I think I can go vs. actually go.  

Where exactly is that pretend finish line?

I think I prefer calling myself a regular jogger. 
Lately, I have been asking myself, how did I get here? How am I running 5k races?  Why does my body and mind crave a good run? 

Last year, I took pictures for Running for Scott. It is a great event put on at Jayden’s school [Laremont] by Jen Burke and Liz Pumala.  It is in loving memory of Scott Conlon, a vibrant young boy who made people smile and loved riding his adaptive Rifton trike.  The funds they raise from the race provides scholarships for other families to get adaptive trikes.  Like ours.  

And on race day, I was taking pictures.  There was no way I could run. I was struggling on the 1/4 mile I ran with Jayden in the kids race.  One of the shots I got changed everything.  It was the back of the t-shirt from the race.  It says:

"When I get tired, 
I remember those who cannot run,
and I run harder for them.
I know they would do the same for me."

It wrecked me.  Who was I running for?  I felt so selfish. God had given me this body and I felt he was nudging me to get healthy, and start running.  I couldn’t shake the desire to start.  So (8 months later) in February, with snow on the ground, I set out. I didn’t even tell Jut in fear of failure.  I ran Boyce Lane and had to stop.  Side cramp.  A few weeks, I did Marc Court (.5).  Then, like in Forrest Gump when his braces break off, I turned onto North Ave and ran.  

I ran 1 entire mile.  

Week after week, I just kept running.  If it was 40 degrees or warmer, I would run.  It was me, the pavement, and my urban beats.  

Then it happened.  I ran 3.1 miles.  I couldn’t believe it.  [Actually, I ran 3.01 for awhile until Jut corrected me to 3.1]

My first run with people was Running for Scott 2014.  
I finished in 31:34 and got that shirt.

My next run was Antioch Run for Freedom July 4 and I “PR-ed” 28:19.  (personal record….fancy running term, I guess)

I actually crave putting my earbuds in (I upgraded from my urban beats) and setting out for a run. My favorite runs are a 4.0 mile trail run with some Hillsong music on at a nice 10.30 pace.  

So, why do I run?

I run for myself. I feel better running. Time to get my endorphines going. Time to take care of my health. To get my anger out.  To get a break from life.  And, it’s free counseling.  [I get it now, Hubert!]

I run for alone time with God. Sometimes, you will find me singing, fighting tears, praying, or lifting my hands in praise as I run (I know, I must look really weird).   

I run for Scott and all the other people that would run if they could.  Although I never met Scott, it has been a blessing to meet his parents and see how he touched so many lives with his character. I feel like we all have a responsibility to use everything God gave us to shine.  Scott did that and I can try.

And I run for my kids. I run for Ellie so she sees me take care of myself, set goals, and hopefully can find something active she can enjoy that gives God glory.

I run for Jayden and Brooklyn so they can have a chance at a cure.  I run in purple shoes as a reminder of what it means to have courage.  They are always pushing me to be my best and finish well. 

September 06, 2014 we are hosting our first 5k RUN/WALK at Illinois Beach State Park.  All the money we raise will go towards funding gene therapy clinical trials, a potential cure for Sanfilippo. You can learn more and get registered at

So, who are you running for? 

I encourage anyone to just start.  Start slow. Even if it’s walking, or biking, or anything that gets you moving.  Take it from someone who has spent a decade not exercising….it feels so good when you are done!  

I love my app, Map My Run, but others are training for our race using C2 5K (couch to 5k apps) and a few joined Ashley Galarza’s amazing group run training program in Gurnee which is fun and FREE so you have motivation and accountability from others.

Who knows how long I’ll run.  
Maybe my body or my motivation will change.  
But for right now, I can run… I will.