I have always wanted to be a runner. However, like millions of other Americans, I sat on the couch spewing excuses why I couldn’t run. So, I never did. Prior to (and including) 2010 I had registered for four half-marathons, but only found the courage to show up to number four.
My life changed dramatically in the summer of 2010, when my oldest son went straight from high-school to the Marine Corps. With all the uncertainty that comes with military life I found myself slipping into depression.
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I desperately needed a healthy outlet, that’s when I decided to start wearing combat boots as a show of solidarity. I wore my USMC boots everywhere I went. I even decided to walk/jog in them during a 5K. One-by-one other runners stopped to ask about my boots. It was during that event that I found comfort and peace for the first time since he had left.
Two weeks later I was standing at the starting line of the Nashville Women’s Half-Marathon in my boots. I was doing it for my son. I had finally found my “why” to run. For the first time in my life, I had a purpose.
During the race, I jogged when I could and walked when needed. About mile 10 my chronic IT Band Syndrome flared, leaving me in pain. By mile 11, I was unable to put weight on my right leg and was forced to drag my foot behind me. Every step was devastatingly painful, but I kept moving forward telling myself, “You can’t give up! Right now Tyler is hurting too and he can’t stop; he can’t quit.”
When I finally hit the finishing line 3:30:00 hours later, exhausted and exhilarated, I dropped into the announcers arms. I had done it, I finished my first half-marathon -in boots- for my son.
Since the fall of 2010, I’ve complete over 27 events in my boots everything from 5K to 50K. I’m now doing triathlons (in boots) including full Ironman (140.6). In 2011 I started racing in military pack as well, adorned with 21 photos of fallen American Heroes.
All military families share two fears:
1. That they will lose their loved one in battle. 2. Their loved one’s memory and sacrifice will be forgotten. Because of
2. That their loved one’s memory and sacrifice will be forgotten.
Knowing this, I started a campaign called Medals of Honor. We give Americans a tangible way to honor and remember all those lost while serving our country. Through Medals of Honor, you can dedicate your event/race (no matter the format or length) in honor and memory of a fallen hero and his/her family.
If you would like to race for something bigger than yourself and make your finisher medals matter please go to www.medalsofhonor.org and register to be a hero’s hero. Please help us by spreading our campaign by sharing our website and by tagging @MedalsofHonor on Facebook and #MedalsofHonor on Twitter.