From the Couch to Crossing the Finish Line

Running a marathon or 1/2 marathon was never anything I thought I’d ever do. The sport seemed very overwhelming to me. I have lots of friends who love to run and enter into races all the time.

I am NOT a runner or at least I thought I couldn’t. Then, several years ago my mother’s life was taken suddenly after a very simple operation!! I was extremely sad at that time and felt I needed some kind of healthy distraction to focus on. The holidays were approaching and I knew if I didn’t do something, I could find myself depressed!

I told my sister who is the brand standards manager for ING that I wanted to commit to a goal oriented activity. She suggested running a half marathon in Maimi. She told me about a run/walk method called “The Galloway Method”. I thought…why not sign-up and have a mini vacation in Miami to escape the cold and snow in Buffalo, my hometown!

I immediately contacted a running coach and started training. Several weeks later, I was telling a friend about my new endeavor and the reason why. Instantly, she said, “I’ll do it!!”, then as the conversation carried throughout the table there were 6 women who said “where do we sign up”!! I was thrilled!!

At my training session with my coach, I asked if she could train 7 of us and she looked with amazement and said, “why not”. I contacted everyone and we began training together. Over the next couple of weeks another 10 women joined us.

I was overwhelmed with emotion from these women who wanted to stand beside me and help me get through the holidays. I named our team, The Buffalo Snowflakes! We got hats and t-shirts. Friendships blossomed!! We had parties, got together for long runs met each other for coffee, lunch and more!

For many of us, this was a life-changing experience. One woman got the courage to file for divorce from her filandering husband, another found her voice and began speaking up, another lost 20lbs. This was an amazing bonding experience.

A reporter from The Buffalo News heard about us and wrote a front page story ion us, which was featured in the Lifestyles section. The well written article and full page picture garnered attention from other media and women from the Western New York area who wanted to join the Snowflakes.

We got our flights, hotel rooms, rented 2 vans and got ourselves down to Miami for the ING marathon. We enjoyed the trade show and events.

Most of us found it hard to sleep the night before, as none of us had ever done an event like this before. We gathered in the lobby that morning, helped each other pin our numbered running badges on and walked to the starting line. The sun wasn’t even up yet. Then the starting gun went off and we were on our way!! All of us crossed the finish line and what a magical moment that was!

I want to encourage all of you to take that first step! A step in making a positive change in your life. Take baby steps, don’t over think… Just do!