May 21 2018
How running after losing my leg has helped me find my identity and purpose.
You are probably not the only person who loves that you’re a runner. Here are some love notes from family that will make you feel all warm and tingly.
Natalie loves running so much that I ran a marathon just to ask for her hand in marriage at the finish—the ultimate dream proposal for my running-loving wife! She is a seven-time marathoner and a five-time triathlete. Running truly makes Natalie radiate with joy, and I love watching her enthusiasm even when facing major obstacles.
Natalie and I have three young children. She did not let pregnancy-induced preeclampsia or bed rest keep her from her passion for running. She worked hard after our third child was born to qualify for the Boston Marathon in 2014 (our children were then 7, 4 and 19 months).
After her qualifying race, she began to have pain in her right knee, which led to a major surgery. In spite of that setback, less than a year after the operation, she finally ran the Boston Marathon in 2016 in a time of 3:26. Incredible! Natalie is the essence of determination in the pursuit of excellence. I watched her fight back from surgery and extensive rehab to train her heart out for Boston.
To know Natalie is to understand what it means to be a runner. She conquers it all with a beautiful smile and a positive outlook. I can’t help but look at her, just 43 years old, and think what an incredible role model she has become. She always strives for her dreams—and, believe me, she is not done dreaming! My wife is awesome and she inspires me every single day.
I credit my love of running to my mom, Judy. When I was young, I watched my mother carry the Olympic torch through our hometown of Cincinnati. She was nominated for the honor thanks to her dedication to running with her friend Greg, who had become blind. He kept his cadence by the swing of her long ponytail.
As I grew up, my mother and I shared a love for running and for being nurses too. I am a pediatric surgery nurse practitioner who recently relocated to the Mile-High City hoping for a half-marathon PR at altitude. My mom still runs daily, but since I moved we don’t get to share workouts together anymore. Now running is my quiet place after busy days at the hospital—just like it has been for my mom for years!
I’m so proud of my wife, Michele! Last November, she set a 5-minute personal best in the New York City Marathon with a blazingly fast time of 3:07:01. She continues to amaze and inspire me and our boys with her boundless energy and efforts to be a little better every day. I’m proud to be her partner as she passes countless lessons on to our young sons.
Michele exemplifies commitment, discipline and fortitude. Despite working a full-time job and raising two wonderful boys, she is up every morning at 4 a.m. to ensure she gets in her planned run and is back in time to prep our sons for school and get ready herself. She is able to do all that and still be out the door by 7 a.m. to catch the bus to work.
Whether it’s nutrition, sleep or her approach to training and running, she is able to focus and do what needs to be done to ensure her success—it’s wonderful to observe and to try to emulate. She experiences small training failures and injuries like all of us, but she is able to quickly refocus and determine the best course of action. She is a master at dealing with adversity.
Through success or failure in running, Michele perseveres. Sometimes her wins are small (nailing a tough tempo run) and her losses seem big (dropping out of a race), but they all lead to progress for her. I’m in awe of her talent and always improving performances—but her drive, work ethic and character are what I truly adore.