The story of runnerLeila

photo credit @photographercara www.cara-leegevers.com
photo/hair/make-up: @photographercara   www.cara-leegevers.com

     Ever since I was a young girl, I have always done sports. I used to go running with my father around the block on a hilly run we called “the clover leaf” (and we still do it when I visit my parents ) But at the time, I was more interested in other sports like tennis, cheerleading, and softball.  At University I was always in the gym and running, but never more than 30 minutes or a few miles.

    It wasn’t until 2009 that I finally decided I could stick to a training plan and signed up for a half marathon. My younger sister and I trained like crazy for this race. We were so nervous and had no idea what to expect! To our lucky surprise, our training payed off and we both finished the New Jersey half marathon in 1 hour and 54 minutes.

    After crossing that finish line for the first time we both agreed to sign up for next year’s full marathon. It was always something on our bucket lists. The 2010 New Jersey marathon was exceptionally hot and humid. Both of us barely crossed the finish line. I had to run/walk the last 6 miles and my sister nearly passed out.  As we each crossed the finish line, my sister thought, “Well, I can check that off my list! I never have to do it again!” and I thought, “I know I can do better, I must do this again!”  After 7 marathons and countless halfs, 10ks, 5ks, etc, I’m still trying to do it better! 😉

    People always ask me,  “what do you like about running? Don’t you get bored?”  Well the answer is it is like a therapy for me and no, I don’t get bored. I’ve moved around a lot since that first year I ran the marathon and running has always been a constant in my life. Whenever I felt lost or had a difficult decision to make, I’d go for a run and find clarity. Living in foreign countries (Buenos Aires, Seoul, Dublin, London and now Villingen, Germany) has been amazing, educational, interesting and never with a dull moment. But it has also been scary, lonely, isolating (especially if you don’t speak the language well), and straight up difficult.  Running has always helped me stay positive and ready to take on a new day; a new challenge. A lot people only think about the physical results running can have on their bodies and don’t realize the mental impact it can have.  If you don’t believe me… Go out and try it… I dare you 😉

Happy running,

Leila

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