Sunday, June 10, 2012

Eleventh Race in 2012

As of today I have 11 days remaining in Mexico.  This morning appropriately was my 11th race in Mexico in 2012.   
There’s only one race remaining; the Father’s Day race on June 17th.  It’s such a bitter sweet feeling.  I am so overjoyed to be returning to my hometown, Yuba City, California, my family, and my friends.  I am, however, sad to be leaving Mexico because this is where I have called “home” for the last two years.  Although this may not sound like a long time to others, it is here I’ve remained the longest since first leaving my hometown in 2003.  In the past nine years I have lived in eight different locations. 

Mexico first made an imprint on my heart back in 2001 when I traveled to Tijuana on a mission’s trip.  Now Mexico has made an even greater imprint on my heart.  It is here in Mexico that I’ve healed, grown, and changed my lifestyle.  I first arrived to Torreon in August 2010 broken, lost, and unhealthy.  Now, in June 2012, I am leaving repaired, found, and healthy.  

      A huge part of me redefining my lifestyle has been finding the joy in running.  If you would have told me in March 2011 that I, Stephanie, would one day use the words “joy” and “running” in the same sentence I would have laughed and called you crazy.  Why do I love running races so much?  Hmmm… let me count the ways:  
  • 1)      The camaraderie amongst the fellow runners.  Very often runners will cheer each other on as they’re running side by side, offer to share fuel, and congratulate each other once they cross the finish line.  Just today I had a male runner who stuck with me the entire five kilometers.  In the remaining push to the end we both exchanged a glance and then began to sprint until we reached the finish line.  Once we crossed the finish line we smiled and shook hands.
  • 2)      The benefits enjoyed from running.  Although I had been going to the gym for a year, it wasn’t until I started to run that I truly began to see such a difference in my body.  My lung capacity, my weight, my heart rate, and my physique were all greatly affected.
  • 3)      The SWAG. (Thanks to Kat I just recently learned this means “stuff we all get”.)  Here in Mexico every time you finish it is very common to receive a medal, a shirt, Gatorade, juice, and fruit.  A fun event complete with SWAG and friends for about 10 USD… can’t get much better than that!
  • 4)      The ability to unleash my competitive side in a safe environment.  Anyone who knows me will attest to the fact that I am quite competitive.  I can make almost anything a competition.  When I run races I am competing against my previous times, my friends, and every other runner that’s around me.  It’s these competitors that keep me pushing through the heat, the thirst, the pain, the hunger, and the burning lungs.  
How long will I continue running?  As long as my body lets me.  There are just too many great races to be run to stop now.  One can always better their time, find a new challenge, run in a new location.  For this week I am choosing to remember each step I take, listen to each breath I breathe, and take in all of the remaining sights and sounds that Torreon has to offer.  (Yes, even the smog and graffiti.)

My next BIG challenge is the Nike Women's Marathon.  I’m training to run this marathon for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society to raise life-saving funds to help those fighting blood cancers. Please help! You can donate to my event at:  
 No donation amount is too small. 

Check out my journey from obese couch potato 
to marathoner by clicking HERE.

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