Jillian

If someone asked me to describe what running has done for me, I could go on for ages about the friends I’ve met, the challenges I’ve overcome, the hard work I’ve put it, and much more. Let me take you on a bit of a journey that has led me to where I am today.
In October 2013, I ran my very first marathon in 4:17 and I was thrilled! I was so proud of myself because I accomplished a very hard task and I was only 21 years old. Unfortunately, just over a month after my race, I was in a car accident that changed many aspects of my life. To make a long story short, I went from being in peak marathon condition to being put on bed rest for 6-7 months due to a severe concussion (brain injury). During that time, I was not allowed to run, exercise, or do much of anything but sleep and rest. As a result, I gained about 35-40 pounds and my depression and anxiety flared up. I became very unhappy with myself; I hated looking in the mirror and I hated who I had let myself become.

After 10 months (September 2015), I ran a half marathon with a time of 2:20 and I was devastated. Although I was happy to be running again, I had run that course previously with a time of 1:48, my personal best. I knew that one day I would start to make my way back to that time.

It wasn’t until January 2015 when I had finally had enough and knew I needed to get the extra weight off and get back to marathon running.

Ever since September 2015, I have been dedicating lots of time, effort, energy, and hard work into making myself the best runner I could possibly be. I have run a few marathons since that half as well as a few other half marathons. It wasn’t until my half on August 28th 2016, that I realized all my hard work was starting to pay off. I ran a 1:53 and I almost broke down into tears because I was so proud of myself for being within reach of hitting my personal best time! At kilometer 20, I looked down at my watch and saw 1:48 and I knew that improving my time would be within reach. I ended up coming second in my age category and I was so happy with myself. That race was really the turning point for me; it gave me the courage to push forward and to know that I will be able to accomplish amazing things.

Running will test your patience, endurance, mindset, and body in more ways than you will ever expect. That being said, it is the one thing that I am so blessed to be able to do. Running has not only improved my physical strength but it has made me incredibly strong and persistent. Yes, there are days where running comes easy and yes, there are days when getting out the door seems like the hardest task in the world. Just remember that every single day that you get out there and run, you are improving and you are getting stronger.

“I dare you to train for a marathon and not have it change your life!”

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