Because You Can

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It’s said that the only thing worse than running is not running.  My running story is a tale of such dichotomy.  Running has been a part of my life for more than 30 years.  Over those years, running has been an elusive phantom and my best friend; it has both created and eased my pain; it has been my therapy as well as my addiction; I have shed tears of joy and despair – all from the simple act of placing one foot in front of the other.

Over the years, its purpose and place in my life has evolved quite a lot, as has my approach to this sport.  When I started running as a teenager, it was simply to lose weight and maintain some moderate level of fitness.  I used it as a tool, abused it, and discarded it when I was bored with it.  When I had children, I discovered that running served as an aid for and defense against the post-partum depression that plagued me.  It also allowed me to carve out a smidgeon of “me time” in the crazy life of a new mom (even if it was at 5am or pushing two kids in a jogging stroller!).  Most recently, running had been my go-to therapy and emotional outlet that carried me through some of the toughest times of my life.

For so many years, I just ran.  On the treadmill; around the neighborhood; on the trail.  No watch, no plan, no purpose.  I would throw the occasional race in there when I felt so motivated – The Broad Street Run has been a perennial favorite, as has the Philly Half Marathon – but it wasn’t until about two years ago that I really caught the racing bug.  Tired of passing all those miles alone, I joined a couple of local running groups.  I became inspired by other runners, and enchanted (ok, obsessed is probably a more apt description) with setting goals, making training plans and crossing those finish lines!  Running had suddenly developed another purpose in my life: through goal-setting and the hard work of my training plans, running had helped me develop a confidence and inner strength I never knew I had.

With this new-found confidence, my running goals have grown, too, and over the last nine months I’ve not only completed my first marathon, but three more, as well as my first (and second) Ragnar events and my first (and second) trail race! 

Somewhere in there, I realized that I was becoming the runner – the person – that had so inspired me.  I was setting the example, for my three kids, for other runners, for my friends and colleagues to strive for better.  To not settle. 

Somewhere in those nine months, I went from a would-be marathoner, to a multiple-marathon finisher, and a Boston Qualifier. 

The next evolution of my running story has presented itself to me now, and it is to continue to inspire and lead and take this drive inside me and use it for all it’s worth! I have so many opportunities: guiding, pacing, maybe even creating my own philanthropic foundation based on running principals!  The sky is the limit because I know now that I can set my mind to whatever I want to accomplish and I WILL do it. 

More than anything, I want my story to be the inspiration to set a goal and then do it.  Because YOU CAN.

Susan Sidoriak