My history with running is emotionally complicated. I began the summer before my senior year of college, for all the wrong reasons. At the time my life was spiraling out of control and running became a physical manifestation of my mental and emotional state of being. I was running scared. I was running FROM. Research has shown in stressful or dangerous situations, our body has an uncanny ability to “fight” hard, or “flight” fast. I spent two entire years in “flight” mode, terrified of what might catch up if I stopped, terrified of the fight I set myself up for. Though avoiding all opportunities to confront my chaotic reality uncovered a hidden talent, eventually the flight had to stop. The fight I faced was the hardest challenge I have experienced up to this point my life, but the freedom that came with conquering the battle was more than worth it.
When Michael Chitwood came to speak at my church last spring, I had only JUST begun running a few months earlier due to a two year injury-related hiatus. I WAS TERRIFIED. Physically, I was unsure of my newly refurbished body’s ability to handle the grueling training. Mentally, I was nervous of any circumstance that may trigger unwanted memories or emotions. Something started tugging on my heart however, and it just WOULDN’T stop. Images of my sponsor child kept appearing in my mind. “Do her friends have clean water to drink? Do they get to go to school…or must they spend their day hiking 6K with 40 lbs of water on their back?” These questions and more rattled my mind. So I signed up–still scared, but determined to try and make a difference in a child’s life. After 18 weeks of training I did get injured, not serious enough to preventing me from finishing the marathon but enough to slow me down the last few weeks of training. Mentally the training helped me rediscovered a passion of mine– running. A REALLY COOL thing about this experience is the transformation that occurred as I started living my life RUNNING FOR. No longer a safety escape, running NOW provides a physical opportunity for me to improve the life of someone else. Running FOR instead of FROM– pretty darn cool idea right there.
Guess what else? THE COOLEST THING.
Our team raised over 1.5 MILLION dollars, bringing clean water to 30,000 individuals!!!!!
It took time, energy, and dedication on days I wanted to sleep in, but joining Team World Vision changed my life. TWV opened my eyes to the clean water crisis and gave me the opportunity to HELP make a DIFFERENCE all while welcoming me into a FAMILY. The friendships made will last a lifetime. 7am Saturday morning runs were EXCITING to wake up for–the positivity, encouragement and compassion this group possesses is CONTAGIOUS. Welcoming runners of all sizes and PR’s, the focus never shifted from the goal of RUN. WATER. LIFE.
So here’s to another marathon season of running FOR. I am SO READY to use my passion to run to help someone else. Because WATER not only improves lives, it SAVES lives. Join with me?