As I prepare for the upcoming Boston Marathon and the second Blue Ridge Relay team Rising Strength Blue Ridge Relay Team it’s hard not to think back to the day of the attack. I started my day with a run through Johnson City, something that I had done hundreds of times in the 9 years that I lived there. I ran that day without fear. I remember feeling happy. I was getting ready for a half marathon that would be taking place the following week and preparing for a marathon that I planned to do that upcoming November. It was late September and still warm, but it had started to rain slightly cooling the temperature. It was perfect running weather. I had no idea that I was targeted by a paroled rapist on that run. I was unaware that as I ran back to my house and sat on my porch briefly as I took off my wet running shoes and chatted on the phone with a friend that I was leading my attacker to my home.
Learning to run without fear again has taken time. I would be lying if I said that when I run alone now that I am not jumpy or more aware of who is around me. That I don’t immediately lock the door behind me and make sure that every window is secure before I leave. This is just a part of my life now. It’s easier to run with other people when I’m more relaxed and only focus on running. While training alone is still somewhat stressful, running races in the months after the attack, qualifying for Boston and putting a Blue Ridge team were a huge part of my healing process. The goals and focus that each goal gave me helped me put the attack in the past and focus on how I would use the situation to become a better person.
I am so lucky to have the support of many incredible people who have gotten behind the causes that I believe in. This spring is gearing up to be an unforgettable one! As with all of my races, I hope to bring awareness to not only Rising Strength but to the Oral Cancer Foundation fundraising campaign Carol’s Fight that is in memory of my mom. Bennett Gibbs the owner of Go Shake, reached out to me several months ago offering his support for the Boston Marathon. I’m very excited to represent GoShake as I take on 26.2 miles and cannot thank Bennett enough for his support and donation to Carol’s Fight!
I am so grateful for some recent opportunities for both Rising Strength and Carol’s Fight. I will be sharing more about each of them in the upcoming months. Thank you so much to everyone who continues to support these causes that mean so much to me.