“One way to keep momentum going is to have constantly greater goals.”
Okay, so my last post I updated you all about what a tremendous impact Tasha’s “Good You Do” video and the Lavery/McDermott 5K had on my life. TODAY I’m here to tell you what I’m doing about it. With all the amazing energy generated at that race and the little spark it rekindled inside me, I’m ready to take making a difference to the next level. I am aspiring to inspire before I expire. 🙂
The day of the race, some other CT-ALIVE board members and I had discussed running the race as a team next year. However being the thriver warriors that we are, that just didn’t seem like a big enough goal. After all, we have a mission to inspire and empower as many victims as possible to take that leap from survivor to THRIVER. What better way to empower and allow women to uncover their true strength than to challenge them physically and invite them into the altruistic and uber supportive running community?
Thus the concept of Team Thriver was born. Honestly, I couldn’t imagine a better win-win. For CT-ALIVE, a group of positive, charged, running thrivers is a walking (well, running actually) advertisement for what we do. We give survivors of abuse the resources and confidence to grab life by the horns. It’s also a chance for those women to give back to our charity by running to raise funds. As far as benefits for the women, I cannot tell you a time when I felt more accomplished than when I ran my first half and full marathon in support of CT-ALIVE. Running for a cause is rewarding on SO MANY levels. It gives you that little extra push when you want nothing more than to quit. These women have already survived and endured so much. They are tenacious whether they realize it yet or not. There is nothing they can’t overcome in life, and this running group will give them the perfect opportunity to learn that.
There are not enough words in the english language or space in this blog to describe the innumerable benefits of running for the mind, body, and soul. It was such an integral part of my healing, and while I don’t expect every woman in the group to develop the same passion for it that I have, I do think it will give each of them a chance to accomplish something they may not have thought they could otherwise. For these women, setting and achieving goals (even small ones) is so important; and in running there is always a new PR waiting or goal to be set.
At CT-ALIVE, we have all kinds of programs to empower women from the Never Going Back to Abuse project including the My Avenging Angel Workshops to the Stepping Forward Program geared at economic empowerment through conferences and resume writing resources. All of these programs are designed to build self esteem, confidence, and independence, with our goal being to break the cycle of abuse. However, none of these programs target physical well being. With the addition of Team Thriver, we will finally be adding that last puzzle piece of healing mind, body, and soul.
I am beyond pumped to be involved in this project! I have always wanted to be a running coach for a high school or college, but this is so much better! This is my niche. These women are my kin, and anything I can do to encourage them or make a difference in their lives I am willing and ready to take on! I don’t just believe anyone can be a runner, I know it. I am living proof of it; and anyone who looks at where I am now and doubts me should take a look back at my first blog post.
When I entered Susan’s My Avenging Angel workshop, I was in an awful place. She mentioned the other night that she doubted I would make it to the second session after I had struggled so much in the first. I literally could not get out the words I was supposed to be reading out of my mouth without sobbing. It was near imposiible to articulate anything nice about myself. I had tremendous difficulty keeping myself together, and ultimately failed miserably. When I went home that night, I wrote To My Abuser and sent it to Susan. Almost immediately, it was as if a weight had been lifted. Someone had finally told me I was going to be ok, and I believed them. The women there knew exactly what I had been through. We had a common bond, and it was difficult not to recognize that if they didn’t deserve what they had been through that it was true of myself as well. I didn’t deserve it. It wasn’t my fault. I was and still am a good person who is worthy and deserving of happiness and love.
The women coming through the program now are the same. They may not believe it yet, but they didn’t deserve it either. It wasn’t their fault, and they are deserving and worthy of love. I am honored that I will have a chance to play a part in helping them realize that. There is no greater commarderie (in my humble opinion) than that of the running community. It is a sport like no other. The last person to finish gets equal- if not more– applause than the first. Runners regularly call out “great job” while passing each other; and the fans are devoted and tireless- frequently cheering for people they don’t even know regardless of the weather conditions.
Creating a running group is a unique opportunity for these women to let there guard down and support one another, as well as to build lasting bonds and friendships. It’s a chance for them to be part of a community that will accept and support them despite their age, weight, appearance, or fitness level. The ONLY qualification required to be a runner is guts, and these women all have it in abundance (or they wouldn’t still be here!) There is no greater gift I could offer than to share my love for this amazing sport and community with them.
Running is something I am truly passionate about; so is helping people. I cannot think of a better way for me to make a difference in this world.