I have been involved with running and fitness ever since I was a child. Some of my earliest memories include watching my father running on the track. I would play in the infield sand or tag along either on foot or bike as my dad logged numerous training miles. Because of that, my passion for fitness is ingrained in me and my goal is always to spread that passion and commitment for a healthy lifestyle to as many people as possible. My background includes personal training individuals and groups, helping with nutrition needs and, in general, impacting lives in a positive, meaningful way. I started personal training about 13 years ago, running a small personal training studio out of my house and, ultimately, owning a fitness facility in Cabot, Arkansas. Owning my facility opened many doors, including; working with local celebrities, making weekly appearances on a local radio station to share fitness tips, hosting multiple 5K races, doing public speaking engagements, fundraisers and, most importantly, allowing me to advocate the need to lead a healthy lifestyle on a much larger scale. I now share my passion through blogs ranging from running, to plant-based athletes, health and fitness, to natural beauty and healthy cooking.
I feel so blessed with the gift of running. Not only has it allowed me to take so many great adventures like Outback in the Ozarks, but it has allowed me to share so many treasured memories with the co-author of my book, my father. And through our book, book signings, motivational speaking engagements and running clinics across the state, we have had the opportunity to touch countless lives .
Our desire when writing We Run Up! was to inspire and encourage others to live their lives powerfully. Inevitably, we all encounter challenges that test our ability to persevere and sometimes we are blindsided by “hills” that rock our world and cause our knees to buckle. No matter what hill we find ourselves climbing (be it a financial problem, loss of a job, struggling marriage, or loss of health, etc.) each one can cause us to feel insufficient and weak. They can overwhelm us to the point of giving up.
Our experience has shown us that it is in the company of others that we become energized to live powerfully. We believe our success has been directly related to our willingness to ask for help and engage with others. That is why choosing “WE Run Up” as the title of our book seemed so appropriate.
We hope this book will inspire you to live your life powerfully in the face of adversity. No matter what kind of hill you encounter we hope these pages will encourage you to find the resiliency and strength you need by asking others to “RUN UP” with you.
I thought I would share the last chapter in our book with you. It is titled The Greatest Adventure Ever. I hope you enjoy it.
Putting on my running shoes one particular Thursday morning I noticed this amazing glow coming through my bathroom window. As I pulled back the curtains, I was greeted with the piercing beauty of the sun cresting up over the lake. The pink cotton-candy-like hues seemed to engulf everything as the sun stretched out its rays to take its perch in the sky. Watching dawn break always excites me as it unfolds its promise of a new day and new opportunities to embrace and experiences to cherish as they become part of my life’s adventure. On this morning I was in particular awe of its beauty and was instantly filled with a sense of gratitude that I was given the gift of running; that I have this time to lace up my running shoes, head out my door and experience such a beautiful sunrise with my father by my side. Walking across the bridge to the other side of the lake toward my parent’s house, I stared out over the lake and watched the geese slowly glide into the glass-still water, highlighted with pink feathers from the sun’s glow. I reflected back upon my years of running with my father and the many special moments we have shared along the way. As I paused on the bridge to take in the warmth of the morning, I was struck by the gift of the present moment as a new day unfolded before me with its endless possibilities.
As I continued standing there, I began to replay a recent conversation with a very dear friend that changed my life forever, and helped me to see the beauty in moments like these. It was after a long trail run and I was sharing with him what my husband’s and my life would be like once our kids had grown up and he could retire. How we would travel and experience the world. What my friend said in response was a game changer for me. He simply asked, “Why are you wishing your lives away, waiting to live in some other time period that you are not even promised?” He was so right! Life is happening now. Happiness is not some future endeavor, but a present reality. We have to be ever mindful to cultivate happiness in our life and the lives of the people we know and love right now. This present moment is what we are given, and the collection of these moments is ultimately what writes the chapters in the book of our lives. I don’t know about you but at the end of my days I want to look back on my book and read the story of a great adventure, a life lived and loved fully. A story that was not afraid to go through plot twists when necessary, full of risks taken, people loved and countless memories collected. I want there to be chapters with some heartache, bumps and bruises and even some regrets proving that I was moving forward and strengthening my character. It may not be a New York Times best-seller or gain any flashy awards, but it will be a manuscript that I will be proud of, lived with integrity to my values and the rich fullness of a great adventure.
Leaving the bridge and this incredible scene behind, I thought how refreshing it is to be fully engaged in the present, like taking a deep breath of fresh air. In the distance, at the base of the hill, I noticed my dad gazing out over the lake taking in the glorious scene as well. I realized it was time to step into the next moment and go write another Daddy-Daughter Run chapter! I want to live life in a way that when it is over, it will be “fist bump” worthy. I want to live it so that I will be able to high five my partners, slap them on the butt and say: “That was The Greatest Adventure Ever!”