Grow Your Blog Hop Spotlight


spotlight

I’m in the spotlight today as part of Kristy from Runaway Bridal Planner’s Grow your Blog Hop. And since many of you readers may be new to my running blog, I will tell you about myself in this post:

How it all began

I credit tennis for me becoming a runner.  Because it was my tennis friends who talked me into it.

To cope with a broken marriage in my mid-forties, I took up tennis with a co-worker.  Like with most things I do, I put 150% of myself into the game.  I took lessons, played in contracts and joined many different teams. I played almost each and every day!!

I should admit that I am not athletic at all.  In fact, I am very uncoordinated.  But when I set my mind to something, there’s no turning back.  Eventually, I got to be a decent enough tennis player.

My 2.5 team even competed in a National tournament and came in 3rd!!

The best thing about participating in a sport for the first time in my life was the friends that I have made. These ladies are still my closest friends 15 years later.

Which brings me to running.

Two of my tennis friends asked me one day if I wanted to try running.  I responded that I had never run and wasn’t sure I could. So it was decided that the three of us would enroll in No Boundaries, a FleetFeet program for beginning runners and learn to run.

Once a week, we ran together with the No Boundaries runners and coaches and afterward we would go to Chili’s for quesadillas and margaritas. We had a blast but…

As with tennis, I immediately wanted to be good! And I wanted to be fast!  So what if I was 55 years  old!! I wanted it all!!!

Before the big race

Way back in 2008…

So my tennis game took a backseat to running and I signed up for 5k race after 5k race.  I was addicted. I became a runner!!!

Running Blogger

I work in the IT department of a law school so technology is my thing. As soon I decided to run, I started a blog- this blog. I wrote about becoming a runner, my training and my races.

Blogging is what got me to the next step in being a runner. I read other running blogs and connected with some local bloggers. One, in particular, asked me to help her start a group for new runners (Strong Running Mamas) with the goal of having them run a 5k race.

I was honored.  Me helping others run? How cool!

the Happy group after the race

They did it – they ran their 1st 5k!!!

Not only did they run a 5k, they signed up for a 10K and then trained to run a half marathon. Some even have run a full marathon. I soon wondered whether or not I should be pushing myself  more!!

Full-Time Runner

Until 2010, I only ran 1-2 miles a few times a week and then ran 5k races on the weekend.  And I didn’t run in the winter at all.

It was these Strong Running Mamas who motivated me to put all my energy into running and see where it took me.

This was my last USTA match when my 3.0 team competed in Sectionals.

I stopped playing tennis competitively and only played socially once a week. I ran 12 months a year and increased my running distances.  I found that the more I ran, the more I enjoyed running.

Half Marathon Fanatic

The biggest change was that I challenged myself to run 13.1 miles.  I still ran the short distance races but added this new distance and loved it. I ran 5 half marathons in 2011, my first year running that distance.

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my first half marathon

Injuries

Unfortunately, things were not all wine and roses.  I’ve had a few minor injuries such as a strained Achilles in 2011. But 2012 really tested me. I thought my running was over for good  In fact, my ortho warned me that it probably was.

I broke my left tibia & fibula with a fall on the ice and as a result I now have 8 screws and a plate in my ankle.  I was out of running for more than 5 months. However, I am very stubborn and decided to take my first run during a 5k race. It wasn’t smart but I needed to prove to myself and to my doctor that I could and would run again.

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and I made the cover of the local newspaper (I’m the one in purple).

And I did run until a few months later, when I wound up with a metatarsal stress fracture in my right foot.  And then in 2013, I broke my left foot. Oy Vey!

Carpe Diem

“Seize the Day” became my new running philosophy.  Enjoy each day that you are able to run. Running is a gift.  You don’t know when it will be taken away. Don’t take it for granted. Not every run can be a good one.  Not every race can be a PR. Just enjoy.

I consider myself fortunate.  I have not been injured since 2013.  I have run so many races that I have lost count (38 just in 2015) including 12 half marathons after that supposed run-ending broken ankle.

Eau Palm Beach Half

This was not one of my better races but still happy to be running!

Giving Back

Running has given me much more than I could ever give back but I do try.

JA is my special needs IRUN4 buddy.  I run every mile for him. His strength inspires me.

He is 11 and so special. I send him my race shirts but I wish I cold do more

I also volunteer in the STEM running program (for domestic violence survivors) plus I am a running buddy for the Girls on the Run program.

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Kelly after finishing her 1st 5k

Race-cations

The best vacation for me is one where I can run a race.  Yes, I plan my visits to friends around races and love to see new places by running when I am vacationing.

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A fun weekend in Philly

So far I have traveled to NYC, California, Florida, New Jersey and Vermont. If only I had more time and more money…

Networking

What makes running one of the best things in my life (besides my hubby of 17 years and my 4 cats) is the people I have met through running.  Runners are the BEST!!

I have made friends through reading blogs.  Many are only my virtual friends but maybe we will meet someday.

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Blogger AJH and I have been able to meet and run many races together

I have running partners that I have connected with through Facebook.

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FB & runner friends Judy & Barbara

And of course, there are all those wonderful runners that show up at each race. ❤

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Stability

That is today’s Wednesday word by Deb from Deb Runs.

Deb Runs

One definition of stability is “the quality or state of someone who is emotionally or mentally healthy.”

I definitely believe that running (and tennis) have added stability to my life or emotionally and mentally healthier.  Now when things get tough or I have a bad day,  I go for a run and I really do feel better. They say that running also releases a chemical called serotonin, which is a natural mood lifter. Maybe that is why or maybe it’s that I feel more relaxed, more energetic and pleased with myself.

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stable (and runner) me

That’s a wrap.

I hope I didn’t bore you with my story. I hope that you continue to follow my blog and read more about my running adventures (past and future.)

And if you know any older ladies who think that are too old or too clumsy to be runners, tell them to contact me.

You can “teach an old dog new tricks!!”

Happy Running!

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59 thoughts on “Grow Your Blog Hop Spotlight

  1. I just love your story!!! You are a beast to be reckoned with LOL 😉 Have you noticed that all of your running has affected your tennis game? I have never played competitive tennis, but despite my pathetic lack of coordination and grace, I seem to be somewhat of a “natural” at racket sports (I was undefeated in my table tennis class in college, BTW, and there were some “real” athletes that I played against). 😉

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    • I am very uncoordinated so my tennis has always been so-so. Since I don’t play as much, it hasn’t gotten better but I think my stamina has. I don’t get tired easily.

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  2. Great story! That’s awesome that you’re still close friends with your tennis friends from 15 years ago. And so amazing that you were able to prove your doctor wrong and continue to run after that injury. I agree with the philosophy of running is a gift and try to keep it in mind.

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  3. I love what you said about your tennis friends. I’ve gotten much more out of sports than just my playing career (that ended when I was 21). I love the community and how we support each other. I’ve made friends for life because of sports.

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  4. I love this 🙂 So inspiring!
    That is awesome how one activity led to another and you made so many friends along the way.
    I don’t think 2016 is going to be my year that I hoped, but i am trying to work with what I got. I hope I can say I made a comeback from this…:)

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  5. As many races (and half marathons!) as we run, we NEED to meet Darlene. You are the poster child for not giving up and accomplishing your goals. You have inspired many others! And, don’t you just love proving people wrong? Carpe Diem is right, sista! Carpe Diem!

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    • As Wendy said, we are SOLE SISTERS!!

      And you don’t give up either. Running a marathon after a stress fracture. You are my hero (and I would have done the same probably.)

      Have to put a panhandle half on my calendar for next winter. Pick a flat one LOL.

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  6. great post! I feel like a know you a little better now! Funny how you started with tennis, I have lost a couple good running friends to tennis, it is a monster! LOL! I like how you give back thru running too, I need to look into some of those programs so I can give back, thanks for sharing and inspiring! This old dog is getting older too but I still believe I have a trick or two left!

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  7. I really love how running ends up being so much more than just running. My running/blogging friends are some of the best friends I’ve made, and I have running to credit for that.

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  8. I really enjoyed reading this.
    Wow, competitive tennis? That is awesome! I played couples tennis in college and although I enjoyed it, I was never that great when it came time for our end of semester matchups.
    That’s awesome you were just invited to go for a run, and then it became something you really enjoy doing now.
    Sounds like you’ve been through the injury ringer, I feel your pain there. But sometimes we learn so much more from those bad patches that make us love the sport of running itself even more!

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  9. I always enjoy reading your posts Darlene! What a great take on your About page too. It was really neat to see that little voice inside your head unfold as the years went by! I think you look stronger than ever! I had no idea about the broken foot but it does not surprise me in the least you did not let it stop you! I think it is wonderful all the time and effort you put into helping others and giving back to your community with the various organizations! It was an honor to meet you virtually an one day I hope to meet you in person!! 🙂

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  10. this was a pleasure to read. i love how you tackled running all at once and totally jumped into it, and now encourage others to run and run half marathons regularly and write a running blog! such an inspiring story of how something so good for us can help us make such lasting positive changes and influence others as well. keep running and writing about it.

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  11. It’s great to meet you through the Blog Hop! I loved reading how you got into running. Like you, I also played tennis before I found running. Both are wonderful sports 🙂

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  12. I love your outlook on running and life! You’re never too old to find a new hobby or passion and dream new dreams and it looks like you keep getting stronger every year! I know how much running injuries suck and it seems like you had a lot of them, but good job sticking with it through all of that. I always admire people who don’t give up. I hope I stay a runner for as long as you have- I’ve been running for two years and it’s the longest I’ve stuck with anything!

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  13. I like to think that it’s never too late to start something, and it’s awesome that you have so many different race distances on your belt! :]! I love that you volunteer for the STEM running program–thank you for all that you do! ❤ Exercise injuries suck, but I'm glad you've recovered from them! <3!

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  14. I love that you’ve taken your passion for running and shared it with others to get them going! And I’m a big fan of running for a cause too! So great to meet you through the blog hop!

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  15. You are an inspiration! I love your story and your perseverance. You have had many injuries that others would never bounce back quite like you did. I am clearly impressed and wish you many more successful running years!!! Love it.

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  16. What a great story!!!

    38 races in one year….that is AMAZING!!!

    So impressed with you and your running…totally bad a@@!

    Racecations are the best!

    I am doing Philly Hot Chocolate in April and can’t wait for the girls weekend 🙂

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  17. This: “I should admit that I am not athletic at all. In fact, I am very uncoordinated. But when I set my mind to something, there’s no turning back.” That is totally me!!

    And oh my GOSH this whole post was an amazing read. You are so motivating! I just loved reading your story and I can’t wait to learn more about you! So happy to have “met” you through the hop. 🙂

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  18. Darlene! You are a rock star! I hope I am as cool as you when I grow up 🙂
    Love that you have gone above and beyond and overcome so much! I also have broken my foot and drs told me I would not run again…I don’t know how many races later, I am still running!
    Nice to meet you through the blog hop!
    Esther

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  19. I LOVE your story! I really admire how much you pour yourself into everything that you try. When I got to your injury posts I got a little emotional because I’m currently going through an injury and I’m terrified that I’ll never be able to run a marathon, which has been my goal for a few years now. I was planning on doing one this fall but who knows if I’ll be ready? For now I’m just taking each run as an amazing gift and enjoying every pain-free minute that I get!

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