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My teenage passion for running (thanks to the incredible high school cross country coach, Chad McDaniel!) carried me through those vulnerable college years providing the stability and familiarity that was essential for this small town girl to survive a new city and large university (the University of Georgia). I explored Athens, GA on foot, creating my “go to” running routes along student-filled streets, often venturing out for a 6-10 miler at the intramural fields or the elusive Botanical Gardens. I loved finding races to run on the weekends when most of my classmates were sleeping in. Running made me unique and I thrived on the challenge and satisfaction it brought me.

Unfortunately, with this strength came some naive invincibility leading to years of ankle issues from overtraining and inevitably multiple ankle surgeries. Doctors told me I would never run again (or was it shouldn’t?..). Upon a grueling, multi month bed ridden recovery due to an infection complication from surgery, I promised myself if I could get back on my feet again I would use my story to ensure others never took their health for granted.

I did in fact start to hit the streets again, but quality not quantity was my new mantra. I learned the important role cross training plays in a person’s health and longevity. This life lesson led me into the career I am in today as an owner of a personal training and health coaching business. This challenge also allowed me to establish a new goal – to run a race in every state post surgery. I got up to 16 states (including Hawaii!) in 4 years (2009-2013) before another hardship came my way. This time it was not from too much activity, but my unknowingly unstable hip joint and the eventual discovery of a congenital hip abnormality, called “hip dysplasia.” My doctor was able to reposition my hip earlier this year (2015) by intentionally breaking my pelvis in multiple places, and I am happy to say I am pain free after almost two years of debilitating pain.

This quilt represents a beautiful decade (2003-2013) full of goal crushing, young adventure, and overcoming adversity in the throws of life’s realities.

Quilt

These races shaped the person I am today and I am so thankful to have found the wonderful Keepsake Theme Quilts website to create a beautiful reminder that, with Christ, all things are possible. I picked Keepsake to create my quilt because they stood out among the competition through hiring deaf individuals. I knew they truly cared about their employees and as a small business owner, that was vital in my decision making process!

I still plan to run (or at least walk!) a race in every state. Even though I am not running right now, I will always be a runner and I will always love teaching others how to fall in love with it. If you have ever experienced the runner’s high, you know what I am talking about! If you haven’t, reach out to me as I would love to coach you towards a potential new passion to amplify your life!