Running is a part of my life; it’s a part of me.

Running is my balance.  It’s how I start my day. It gives me a great launching pad to tackle whatever lies ahead in the hours to come.

It started in 2003. That’s when I really started to run. I had dabbled in it before, but it never stuck.  I had a close friend who was battling cancer at the time, and I needed a release and was also looking to do something to show support for her and her family. So, I set out on a mission, to run the NYC Marathon that year. I set a goal to raise funds for her family and hit the pavement to train. If you’re thinking I was crazy to take on the challenge, to prepare within less than a year to run the NYC Marathon – a race many train years for – I wouldn’t argue with you. Looking back it does seem crazy, but I was determined to do it.

Training for the race wasn’t hard. Time consuming, yes, but as a natural born plotter and planner that was a great challenge! Another piece to fit into the jigsaw puzzle that is life. Bring it on! “I shall fit you in here and here and here …” I marked my calendar out, set my plan for runs, workouts and fundraising and I was off. My first official race was on Mother’s Day, and there I was NYC Marathon-bound! If my friend could go through the battle of her life against cancer, there was no doubt in my mind that I would reach the finish line!

The marathon itself definitely wasn’t easy, but I finished, without walking – I just wanted it to be over and figured running would make it go by faster – and I crossed that finish line in less than five hours. I had done it! I achieved all the goals I’d set for myself. I looked that challenge in the face and laughed at it, and had a few choice words along the way for it, but nonetheless, I did it! I was inspired by my dear friend and I took it and ran with it, literally.

Unfortunately, my friend passed away in September, two months before the marathon. I could have given up after that. But I didn’t. Just like she had inspired me to get started, she inspired me to finish, for her. And I have no doubt that she was by my side every step of the 26.2 miles.

My angel of a friend inspired me and got me hooked on running, and I have continued to run, for me

As a mother, a wife and a business owner there are days that my plate is overflowing and overwhelming. Running is “me” time. I am only accountable to me when I run.  I work through my feelings while pounding the pavement.

But “me” time doesn’t always mean alone time. Running has also become part of my social life. I’ve made countless friends through teams I’ve been lucky enough to be a part of and taken on wonderful adventures with races ranging from 5k’s to marathons to intense obstacle courses. I love running with my friends. I get to spend time with great people that make me feel good about myself, and when I run with them I often push myself beyond what is completely comfortable, which helps me improve and keep on reaching for the next level. In 2011 I set and reached the goal of running a half marathon each month. For 2013 I’m aiming to put in 1,000 miles for the year. I couldn’t accomplish any of it without the support of a team. We push each other. We support each other. Running grounds me and helps me to be a better me, which makes me a better team player, which helps me to be a better me … it’s a beautiful cycle.

I run because I can. I believe anyone can, if it’s something that they really want to do. We all need that something that helps us work through the tough stuff; something that gives us the benefits of emotional and physical well-being. Something that seems it was meant for us that challenges us and helps us to continue to grow and break through barriers. What’s your something?

For me, running is what helps me run my life.


Authored By: Debbie Aglietti