I'm Hannah, by the way, and I've been running for as long as I can remember. There is a picture of me running on the beach in California when I was five while on vacation with my family. In elementary school I took pride in beating the boys on Track & Field Day and in Jr. High I ran with the Varsity track team. Once in high school, I found other distractions and running became something I did just during the spring track season and I was content with my "never first, never last" placement in races. College brought what college typically brings and my running shoes waited patiently, buried in my dorm closet.
It wasn't until after college that things changed for me. When I was 19, my mom had a little boy, Joel. At six months old, Joel was diagnosed with a rare blood diesease. The next 2 1/2 years were filled with chemotherapy, blood transfusions, and watching the sweetest little boy go through more physical pain than anyone should have to experience in a lifetime. Joel died on February 15, 2008.
In the days and weeks that followed Joel's death, our house was filled with visitors armed with comfort and food but running became my only solace. Running helped me answer the question that my mind screamed: What do I do with this pain?
Now, a little over two years later, I find the easiest answer to this question- and most questions- remains the same: Go for a run. And when I need motivation to push through the discomfort of another hill repeat or to not collapse in a heap on the curb, I think of Joel. And my feet move forward.