I often tell people, I didn’t seek to become a runner, but running found me. I was a city kid with a challenging home life, and after losing both parents to suicide (my Dad) and HIV (my mom), running took me under its wing.
As a 7th grader, Coach Frank LaBianca challenged me to come and try out for the girl’s track team at the Rocky Point Jr./Sr. High school, in New York. I didn’t have the money needed to buy equipment for other sports, but I did have sneakers. So, I accepted that challenge, ran as hard as I could, and wound up making the varsity team on the spot. It was an incredible accomplishment for a very shy girl just looking to fit in and be on a team, and I was so proud of myself.
Running Gave Me Confidence
I knew I wanted to be a part of a sport, any sport, and when I discovered I had talent as a runner, that I could run fast and even outrun some of the boys team— I gradually became hooked. I loved the excitement of training, and the ability to simply do my best and set hard to reach goals. Each week I saw my own improvement, and my confidence began to grow. I was a runner, and that confidence soon spilled over from the track to other areas of my life as well.
The sport gave me a place to learn who I was, to become the best version of myself, to set goals, and balance the highs and lows in life. The skills I took away from running turned into life-long skills, and motivated me to become the first person in my family to graduate high school, go on to college, to attend law school, and pass the NYS Bar Exam. I ran on and off, and the amazing thing about it was that even when I could not find time for running, running always made time for me and called me back.
I Hope To Inspire The Way I Was Inspired
As a young professional, I was blessed to have been able to travel the world and run in some amazing places. Now, as a new Mom, I am blessed to be able to continue with this sport that brings out the best within me, and to share my passion for movement with my son. My hope is that people who read my story who have had similar life struggles will know how amazing they are, and know that they can achieve whatever they put their minds to.
Today, I’m starting to compete again, and it’s wonderful to be able to do that as part of the expansive running community social media has created. Where will running take me tomorrow? I have no idea, but I’ll be laced up, excited, and ready to go.