When I first started running I ran out of anger. I was angry that I had lost my brother. His sudden death did not seem fair, I did not understand and I missed him. I was angry, and so I ran.
Running was my punishment. Trevor was at my house the night of his accident, he was driving my car when he crashed, he died while under my watch. I had a lot of guilt and so I ran harder and faster to ease the pain. Running connected me to Trevor, it was a way of purging my emotional pain into physical pain. It was a release from reality, a time to be with my brother with no distractions, a time to reflect. It helped me cope. Running was always there for me, it was consistent, it did not criticize or judge me. Running saved me.
What I did not realize when I started running is the connections I would make with others through this simple shared passion. Running will forever connect me to my brother but running has also connected me to so many amazing people along the way. My trip to Arizona for the IMS Arizona Half marathon was such a great reminder of the people I have been blessed to meet through running. So many magical moments happened on that trip that I will never forget and it was such a great testifier of faith and confirmation to me that everything happens for a reason.
Running connected me to a women named Jill on my flight out to Phoenix. We were placed next to each other on the airplane and we shared running in common. Jill and I ended up talking the entire 90 minute flight and I know we would have talked for hours if we would have had more time. Our connection started with running but Jill and I shared so much more in common, and the casual conversation became so much deeper. We had very similar stories of how we started running. She had suffered the loss of two brothers and pointed something out to me about my brothers death that I had never thought about or fully processed. It was something I absolutely needed to hear, it was magical, it was so very inspired and being placed next to Jill on that flight was so meant to be.
Running connected me to my good friend Heather who picked me up at the airport, let me stay at her home, and showed me around Phoenix. Heather is a special person, one of my very best friends, and we connected through running.
Running connected me to Heather’s friend Nikki and her adorable family. Through this shared passion of running Nikki and I hit it off instantly when we ran Napa Valley Ragnar together. It was so fun to meet her new daughter, reconnect with her and go to dinner with her family the night before the race.
Running connected me to Emz. This girl is simply amazing and words cannot even begin to describe how much I admire her. I have always loved her blog but meeting her in person and having her cheer for me at the race was indescribable. Another connection made through running that was 100% meant to be.
Running connected me to Michael and Jim. Two people whose running journey’s I’ve been following for over two years now and have always wanted to connect with in person. They are both so inspirational to me and truly even more amazing people in person. It was running that connected us and I am so thankful I had the opportunity to meet them.
As I reflect on my trip to Arizona I of course go back to that euphoric feeling of crossing the finish line and setting a huge half marathon PR. Revelling in that magical moment was everything I ever dreamed it could be and I never want to forget it or take it for granted. But what also stands out in my mind are the connections I made.
I started running as a way to connect with my brother and through time it has connected me to so many incredible people who I would never have the opportunity to know if I wouldn’t have taken that first step.
Running has saved me!