When I look back on my athletic career from basketball to running marathons, grateful is the word that sums it up. I lost my hair at age 2, due to the autoimmune condition, Alopecia. I was bullied and teased for most of my schooling years. I allowed it to happen, because I was so ashamed and embarrassed about my bald head and felt I deserved it. Sports were my escape. I would shoot hoops in my driveway for hours, escaping the reality of my Alopecia and life. When my collegiate basketball career was over I needed something to challenge myself, to work towards, and become that healthy outlet. I ran a marathon on a whim, and fell in love with the sport during my first 26.2.
Running has empowered me so much.
Every finish line I crossed taught me something. The more I was running, the more confidence I gained in myself and it eventually led to me hanging up my wig for good and never looking back. I used to let my fear of Alopecia, or what others thought or say hold me back, but now I use that to propel me further. It took many years, consistent work, strong faith and a desire to achieve to get to the point where I am today. My internal drive to always achieve more, to set big goals, to always improve, get faster, run more and just be the greatest I can be wakes me up every day. When I have a rough day, or someone makes a comment about my Alopecia, I have running to turn to and I am so grateful. I feel the most beautiful and the most like me when I am out doing what I love.
After many marathons I am currently training for my first 100-miler which is a different kind of training mentally and physically. I have enjoyed the long runs so much. The back to back runs, where I have to dig deep, and keep pushing show me how strong I truly am. I always go into every workout and run with the mindset that “I get to do this”. I have found that a positive mindset is key in everything. The runs aren’t always easy or always fun. I don’t always hit my paces, but continuing to show up and never quit is something I am extremely proud of.
I made so many rookie mistakes when I first started running, but have learned so much. One of the biggest things is to be proud of yourself and never compare your progress or journey to anyone else’s. You are given your journey and path for a reason. It is okay and encouraged to ask for help, and most importantly you have to always believe that you will succeed.