In October 2022, 40,000 people ran the 44th Bank of America Chicago Marathon. However, the 2007 race in downtown Chicago holds a monumental memory for me. Extreme circumstances gradually led to my own personal epiphany while running there.
I vividly remember driving home in my late teens on crisp, midwestern Fall mornings after nights of disrespecting my body, my soul, and especially my heart. I was usually very hungover. I felt crusty. I passed people sporadically dispersed as they ran along the road. There were out for their morning meditation, and moving within the moment. They evoked a sense of peace that almost calmed me while offering up the smallest glimpse of hope fulfilled. I was so lonely.
I was also one of the lucky ones, saved from the certain, complete destruction of self. It was the fear that I might take an innocent hostage down with me that did it. Just shy of age 20 I was scared–and guided–into what is so far 35 years of recovery, gratitude, and healing. With this perpetual process has come fulfillment.
Thus began my journey into holistic health and the opportunity to activate a meaningful life for myself. Collaboration with others who hold the same, deep value system while benefitting their communities, too. Here I started running to rather than from.
After years of emotional and physical self-destruction, I discovered a young group of hopeful peers We were also through life. We were all in a desperate search for the results of life without transitory protection from deep-rooted pain. (I just wanted to belong somewhere.)
I began to take back my physical health. Finding ways to move my body (like running), and losing my fear of fresh air and solitude (versus loneliness). Making connections and memories with other broken humans.
In the late ‘90s, I began to train with the brother of a friend I had known since middle school. (If my ‘tween self had only known this demigod would be a fixture in my young adult life!) Eventually, I ran a half (trail) marathon with him before accompanying him to Chicago for his first attempt at 26.2. It lit a fire inside me that, years later at age 39, I would stoke. Along with my husband and three small sons, I would (almost) cross the finish line.