Last night I won a $250 gift bag from Fleet Feet Bend at a Pink Palooza party, which was designed to raise money and awareness for breast cancer. October is breast cancer awareness month.
I can’t believe I won. I caught myself saying to my mom, “I never win anything.” and then I realized how untrue that was.
It started a couple years ago when I won a $70 gift certificate to a gear store in Portland for my 2nd place performance at the Ride, Row, Run in Maupin, Oregon. I had finished 4th overall, and 2nd for women. It was both an honor and a surprise, and that was the last time I raced in 2012, and 2013..
2013 was a very difficult year for me. I lacked motivation to try, and when I was able to overcome that initial barrier, I lacked desire to suffer. I basically quit on myself. I gained 25-30 pounds and I was miserable. I hated my job because it was keeping me from being active and I resented my paycheck because it never had enough extra to pay for a gym membership or a race entry fee or new running shoes.
And then one day in early 2014, I decided I was tired of my own voice. I got a sales bonus at work and before I could divvy it up between bills, I bought new running shoes. I registered for my first race in a year and a half – the Dirty Half – a trail half marathon in spring.
Between tutoring and sales bonuses at work, I was able to once again invest money in my own health through races and triathlon gear. I started volunteering at Juniper Swim and Fitness in deep water running and was able to build a base without risking injury. I was recruited to coach a running group on Saturdays, and that has been the best thing for my running since who knows when.
After taking an entire year off, this year I raced:
Dirty Half (13.1)
Deschutes Dash (1st Olympic triathlon)
Swim Across Suttle (1.3 mile swim)
Portland Triathlon (Olympic Duathlon)
Zombie Run (5k – tonight!)
Monster Dash (10k – next Sunday)
Happy Girls Run (2 Sundays)
Not to mention my birthday triathlon which was amazing.
Last spring I won a gift bag from Lay it Out Events for a running photo I submitted. This fall I won an entry into the Happy Girls Run half marathon based on an essay I wrote about what running means to me and how much I need it in my life. I earned an entry into the Monster Dash for my volunteer duties as a running coach. Last month when I was in Portland, I cashed in my gift certificate for a hammock, which I absolutely love. And so last night when I won $140 running shoes, a pass to Crater Lake Vodka for 6 people, and an entry into the spring training program (which was already regifted because I am a coach), I was wrong when I said I don’t ever win..
I am not at my potential. I still have about 10-15 pounds to lose to be where I was at the triathlon in 2012, and another 10 from where I really want to be. But I am moving again. I am involved. I appreciate my job because it allows me to live in this beautiful runner-loving town of mine. I appreciate when I have extra money and I have learned that investing this money into my own health and happiness is the best investment I could ever make.
I did not just win shoes and race entries and hammocks and other great prizes this year; I won my life back. And I am so grateful that the universe obviously wants me running.