About Heather

 

August, 2015- A picture of me NOT in running clothes. 🙂

Welcome to Running Free Blog.  I’m Heather, and I live in Colorful Colorado- about 10 miles outside of Boulder. I have lived in the area since I was a child.  I’m a single mother of two wonderful boys, ages 11 and 9.  I’m 42.

I started running in 2009, as a way to recover and rebuild my body after having been diagnosed with thyroid cancer that had spread to my lymph nodes. I had to have a very complicated and invasive surgery to remove my thyroid and cancerous lymph nodes in my neck.  Then I underwent radioactive iodine to kill the remaining cancer cells. I was very ill for months and had very little energy.  I slept 22 hours a day and was exhausted.  I couldn’t care for my young children at the time, and I wondered if there was ever going to be a day, where I would be able to just be up for an hour and not feel so tired and ill.

When I finally started feeling better in the late summer of 2009, I was so happy I actually felt good again (you can read more about the details of my cancer and recovery in the post, “Because I Can”).   I had always wanted to run a 5K, and thought since I was feeling better, I may not ever get another chance, so I was going to go for it! That first run was an  evening in September, 2009.  My only goal then was to run ONE 5K.  I accomplished that goal, one month later.

Six years later, I’ve run every distance and raced in every distance  from an elite division race and placed 2nd in my age group to countless 5K’s, 10K’s, and half marathons. I have always wanted to run a marathon- 26.2 miles. It has been a goal since I got my first taste of running. I’ve achieved every other running goal I’ve ever set for myself except for the marathon- it’s always eluded me.

With my bib number after my first competitive elite division race. I thought “321” was good karma the moment I saw it, & it was. I placed 2nd in my age group! This was in 2010, one year after I had thyroid and lymph node cancer.

Over the years, I’ve sustained a number of running injuries from sore muscles to shin splints, to hip pain, which furthered my “belief” I just was not cut out to run a marathon.  And yet, I couldn’t quite give up on that….something was telling me I had to try.

I read “Born To Run” this summer and it did more to renew my belief in myself and my running than anything has, since I first ran after having cancer.

However, I realized I had to start from square one and teach myself this new way to run physically and mentally. The way I had been running, was taking its toll on my body, which I was seeing with injuries and decreased desire to run. I was more focused on times and speed than why I had even started to run in the first place.

I had always heard and seen “barefoot/minimalist” runners at races and thought they were silly. Shows how much I knew.  After reading “Born To Run” and having ran over the years, (per my stats I keep), over 3,000 miles- over a tenth of this planet- something resonated with me, that this was a smarter, healthier, and much more fun way to run.

Running “fun” again? Like those first few steps I took on my first run after having been sick from cancer and practically an invalid for months?

Running without worrying about times, pacing, and getting faster, but doing so anyway?

Running with little or no injuries?

Running free, for the love of running?

I answered a big, fat, “YES” to all these possibilities dancing through my mind.

Then I heard that voice within me, my running voice that has always pushed me, “You can finally run a marathon if you train this way.” 

And that is how Running Free Blog was born, in August, 2015.

It’s my journey. To transition and train myself to become a minimalist runner and run a marathon, running it free and fun. Not focused on times, but for the fun and joy of it.

I work full-time. I have family, friends, kid activities, like every other parent and person, I do other things besides running.  I’m busy.  I don’t have a trainer, or countless time to devote to running.  I have those moments where I wonder what am I doing? Can I really do this?

One thing about running for me- it’s always given me that inner confidence and strength- sometimes when I didn’t even know I had it.  I may not have a coach or be an expert runner, but I know myself. I know running.  It’s given me my physical health back. It inspires me to be my best and become better than my best.

I may not get it “perfect” every time.  I’m going to learn a lot along the way, but that is part of the journey.  I know when the time comes for me to run my first marathon, I will have gotten it perfect for me.  I’m going to run that marathon “free”- for the pure fun of it.  And it will be the best race of my life.

I was a successful “Mommy Blogger”at A Mama’s Blog for years, when my children were younger. I loved it.  I have always loved writing too. As my children got older, I felt like the “mommy blogging” was becoming an invasion of my boys’ privacy- at some point, their stories aren’t mine to share- they belong to my boys, and I never wanted them to realize one day, their childhood and “tween” years, were being blogged about. I believe those belong to my boys.  I have continued to blog a A Mama’s Blog over the years off and on, mostly about running.

So, the time has come for me to combine my two great loves, (besides my children) writing and running in its own “official” blog.  I want to share my journey. I want to share what I learn about minimalist running, training, and the desire to achieve anything you imagine.  I hope it can help and maybe even inspire people to take up whatever they love to do. My goal isn’t for this blog to be a “running blog, ” but if it can inspire….that would be wonderful.  I want it to inspire. I am inspired by running. But that inner drive- no matter what it is- we can achieve so much when we let ourselves believe we can.

I am also going to provide some tips, and insights I’ve learned over the years about running.  The traditional way, and what I’m learning about minimalist running. I will provide ways you can run low-cost.  Running doesn’t have to cost a lot of money for you to enjoy it. As I’m finding out, the less money you spend on it, the more fun it is, and less injuries too.

Thank you for coming along for the “run” with me.  This is going to be the run of my life, and I’m going to enjoy every step along the way.

“Focus on the journey, not the destination. Joy is found not in finishing an activity but in doing it~”

Greg Anderson

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