What Running Taught Me

Dedication: To My Dad, who encouraged me to lace up my shoes and taught me that I could do anything I wanted to accomplish.

I started running the fall after my daughter was born to lose a few pounds, get back in shape, and sneak in a few miles of “me” time after being home with a newborn all day. Little did I know, running would lead me down many paths that I had no idea I even wanted to explore.

Today, 12 years later, I have completed several half-marathons and countless other races of various distances. But the medals and t-shirts from these races aren’t really the rewards. Running has taught me to push myself to meet goals I never dreamed I’d be able to achieve, to discipline myself to stick to a training schedule, and to celebrate the little victories – like shaving a few seconds off a race time or adding extra miles to a long run.

In addition to the physical and mental benefits, running has introduced me to some of my best friends. The relationships I’ve built while pounding out mile after mile in the early dawn hours are my most treasured. Together, my running partners and I have struggled up hills and through parenting challenges; shared our daily struggles and triumphs; brainstormed solutions to millions of problems; and planned adventures on and off the running trails. Besides providing one another motivation and accountability, I know we have built relationships that will last a lifetime.

I’m beyond thrilled for my daughter to start lacing up her shoes and joining me as she begins running. I can’t wait to share all of this with her!

Girls on the Run International and Say It Forward are committed to the empowerment of girls everywhere. We believe that every girl has an important story to share – a story of determination and perseverance, a story that can inspire others to overcome the self-limiting beliefs that keep them from reaching their fullest potential. We are also committed to empowering the women who invest their time and energy in these girls.

We invite you to share your story at Say It Forward and to keep in touch with us via Twitter and FacebookGirls on the Run International Facebook and Twitter. All stories written by girls are shared with the permission of a parent or guardian. Girls’ first names only are posted with their stories.

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Abby Maretsky

I am a mom, wife, writer, editor, and runner living in Orlando, Florida.