Your journey is your own. It’s meant to be different from someone else because we are all unique. Yet we try to make our lives fit into predefined boxes. As part of the running Instagram community we’re putting our lives on display in a 2″x2″ square, often with a pace/distance stamp on it. As humans, we naturally seek satisfaction from those around us. But our greatest satisfaction should not come from the approval of others. We are more than the number of followers we have or the number of likes on a photo. As runners, we measure things in numbers (pace, distance, time, heart rate, etc.), but there is more to this life than running accolades.
I’m writing this from a current place in my own life. Much of my identity has been wrapped up in being a runner, and while I could never envision my life without running, it should not be the only thing defining me. Here is a little bit more into who I am:
I am a Christian. My faith is incredibly important to me and guides many of the decisions that I make and my values. Before many of my races, you might see me saying a quick prayer on the starting line. I take comfort in the fact that I’m not alone out on the course or in my life.
I am a wife. My husband and I have been together for nearly 7 years and have been married for 1.5 years. He is my best friend and the most supportive partner I could have ever dreamed of. We met in college and started dating at the beginning of my freshman year. I feel lucky to have met the person I will spend the rest of my life with so young as I know it doesn’t happen very often anymore. He’s my person.
I am very close with my family. Family is extremely important to me and is the reason we moved back from St. Louis after 2 years; it just wasn’t home without our families nearby. I have become very close with my husband’s family as well and we are blessed to have such involved families in our lives.
I am an animal lover. We adopted our rescue dog, Lola, in St. Louis when she was 1.5 years old and had just had a litter of puppies. She is the sweetest girl and the best addition to our family. Growing up we always had a pet at the house and still have 2 family pets at my parents’ house (a cat and a dog). I can’t imagine growing up without a furry friend!
I am an analytics manager by day. Truth be told I’m still trying to figure out what my professional passion is. I have two degrees, one in Marketing and the other in Supply Chain Management and I would really like to move more towards the creative side of things again and get away from the numbers and Excel for a little bit…this keeps me up at night and scares me but I’m thankful to have a steady income while I’m figuring it all out. I am also serving as the Director of Marketing & Social Media for my running club which is a non-profit. I’m not getting paid but it’s the best job I’ve ever had and I wish it could be a full-time gig to be able to devote all my working time and energy to it!
I love to travel and explore new places. During college I spent 3 months in Seattle on an internship and hiked nearly every weekend. I’ve been fortunate enough to visit Italy, France, Spain, Malta, Tunisia (Africa), Canada, Mexico, and a few Caribbean islands. I always say that if my family didn’t live in Chicago that we’d be gone in a heartbeat and hopefully be out west. My favorite state in the country is Colorado because there’s something to do year round as an avid skier (I’ve been skiing for almost as long as I could walk…).
I have a few very close friends and many acquaintances. I describe myself as an introverted extrovert. I can easily hold a conversation with a stranger and enjoy company but in small doses. I definitely appreciate my alone time and many times after work I come home and just want to veg on the couch alone for a bit to decompress! My best friends are actually the ones I see the least often as we’re living in different states but no matter how long we’ve been apart a conversation is so natural and picks up where it left off.
Finally, my passion is what drives me. I’ve had a few people recently tell me that I have an athletic gift and I whole-heartedly disagree. I don’t think I have any natural talent; I also don’t mean this in a braggadocios way at all I think I just have a ridiculous amount of drive to constantly improve and better myself which gets applied not only to my running but to nearly every aspect of my life. It’s tiring, and time-consuming, but it is what keeps me going every day (and also leads to having a problem with relaxing…but that’s a story for a different day).
So after all this, I ask you, what have you been letting define who you are lately? How do you want to define yourself? There is so much more to each one of us than just a PR in an Instagram bio or a daily post about our run. All of the things that define me are just as important in my life even if they aren’t being showcased on an Instagram page.
I challenge you to share, who are you #offtherun?