Because I can…

Join us at Laremont this Sunday in Gages Lake!

I was a dancer.

In junior high, high school, and college my sport was dance.  And, although I didn’t have a lot of technical training, I enjoyed it and wasn’t half bad. I loved being on a dance team.  Post college, I even taught dance at a park district.  But after I had Jayden, I hung up my dance shoes.

Never in a million years would I have thought I would start running at 33.

In fact, I cringe to call myself a runner because I know “runners.” I married one.  The ones that have PR’s, run miles in 1/2 my time, and talk in a language I don’t understand.

Have you ever tried running if you are a non-runner?  It’s hard. All those side cramps, leg cramps, blisters, and sweat? Tough stuff to work though. And for us “hard core outdoor” runners, we battle the elements. I started running in February of 2013, which I think may have been the longest winter ever in IL. Snow? Run. Rain? Run. Hot? Run/Walk. I have tried it all. Emphasize TRY.

A lot of it is mental. Which is harder.I have numerous coversations with myself about how far I think I can go vs. actually go.

Where exactly is that pretend finish line?

I think I prefer calling myself a regular jogger.

Lately, I have been asking myself, how did I get here? How am I running 5k races?  Why does my body and mind crave a good run?

In 2012, I took pictures for Running for Scott. It is a great event put on at Jayden’s school [Laremont] by Jen Burke and Liz Pumala.  It is in loving memory of Scott Conlon, a vibrant young boy who made people smile and loved riding his adaptive Rifton trike.  The funds they raise from the race provides scholarships for other families to get adaptive trikes.  Like ours.

And on race day, I was taking pictures.  There was no way I could run. I was struggling on the 1/4 mile I ran with Jayden in the kids race.

One of the shots I got changed everything.  It was the back of the t-shirt from the race.  It says:


“When I get tired,

I remember those who cannot run,

and I run harder for them.

I know they would do the same for me.”


It wrecked me.  Who was I running for?

I felt so selfish. God had given me this body and I felt he was nudging me to get healthy, and start running.  I couldn’t shake the desire to start.  So (8 months later) in February, with snow on the ground, I set out. I didn’t even tell Jut in fear of failure.  I ran Boyce Lane and had to stop.  Side cramp.  A few weeks, I did Marc Court (.5).  Then, like in Forrest Gump when his braces break off, I turned onto North Ave and ran.

I ran 1 entire mile.

Week after week, I just kept running.  If it was 40 degrees or warmer, I would run.  It was me, the pavement, and my urban beats.

Then it happened.  I ran 3.1 miles.  I couldn’t believe it.  [Actually, I ran 3.01 for awhile until Jut corrected me to 3.1]

My first run with people was Running for Scott 2014.

I finished in 31:34 and got that shirt.

My next run was Antioch Run for Freedom July 4 and I “PR-ed” 28:19.  (personal record….fancy running term, I guess)

I actually crave putting my earbuds in (I upgraded from my urban beats) and setting out for a run. My favorite runs are a 4.0 mile trail run with some Hillsong music on at a nice 10.30 pace.

So, why do I run?

I run for myself. I feel better running. Time to get my endorphines going. Time to take care of my health. To get my anger out.  To get a break from life.  And, it’s free counseling.  [I get it now, Hubert!]

I run for alone time with God. Sometimes, you will find me singing, fighting tears, praying, or lifting my hands in praise as I run (I know, I must look really weird).

I run for Scott and all the other people that would run if they could.  Although I never met Scott, it has been a blessing to meet his parents and see how he touched so many lives with his character. I feel like we all have a responsibility to use everything God gave us to shine.  Scott did that and I can try.

And I run for my kids. I run for Ellie so she sees me take care of myself, set goals, and hopefully can find something active she can enjoy that gives God glory.

I run for Jayden and Brooklyn so they can have a chance at a cure.  I run in purple shoes as a reminder of what it means to have courage.  They are always pushing me to be my best and finish well.

So, who are you running for?

I encourage anyone to just start.  Start slow. Even if it’s walking, or biking, or anything that gets you moving.  Take it from someone who has spent a decade not exercising….it feels so good when you are done!

I love my app, Map My Run, but others are training for our race using C2 5K (couch to 5k apps)Who knows how long I’ll run.

Maybe my body or my motivation will change.

But for right now, I can run… I will.





2 thoughts on “Because I can…

  1. Old ladies like me who have joint problems can no longer run. 🙂 But we do walk, and bike and dance. And you are absolutely right, Stefanie. That time is sacred. Time to commune with God, or Nature, or the spirits or wherever your personal belief system takes you. For me, it is time in which to take a deep breath and recall what is really important in my life. It is time to think about who I am and why I am here – in other words, to think about who I “run” for. This past weekend I had the honor and privilege to attend the First Annual Wylder Nation Foundation Living Like a Warrior Gala. Although the focus of the event was on Niemann-Pick A, WNF's mission is to improve the lives of children diagnosed with Lysosomal Storage Disorders and provide hope by accelerating the discovery and development of treatment options. Jayden, Brooklyn and the entire San Filippo community were in my heart throughout the entire evening. The Gala was a tremendous success and the funds raised will help to create miracles. Although I will not be able to participate in Running with the Boyces, I will be there in spirit, cheering all of you on, every step of the way. For it is events like these that remind me who I “run” for. I run for Jayden – and Brooklyn – and Wylder – and Trek – and Quinn – and Jacob and all of those precious children who have been stricken with these terrible disorders. And I “run” for their families – so that they will know that they are not alone in their fight to find treatments and cures for their own children and to assure that someday no other family will have to endure what they have experienced. It takes a village and I am humbled to be a part of that village.


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