One Year

Today marks one year that my beautiful friend and roommate, Kate, passed away.

There are some days that I still can’t believe she is gone. I’m quickly reminded because of the void I, and all that knew her feel on a constant basis.

On this forum and in life I’ve talked a lot about who she was; a confident free spirit who let her heart and intuition guide her. She was one of the most self-serving people I’ve ever known, and she was who she was respectfully, honestly, and responsibly. She did only things that served her happiness, purpose, and truth. And she did that while simultaneously volunteering and mentoring, passionately pouring herself into her book, running, practicing yoga, traveling the world, going camping, etc.

What makes me the most sad is that there are people in this world who will never know her. There are so many who need her, who could have benefited from her bright light and they never will.

Kate was fearless. She was human, she made mistakes. But she lived knowing who she was, and if you had a problem with that it didn’t affect her much. I’m pretty much the opposite; I’ve always needed validation from others. As a result I’ve let the fear of judgment from others influence my decisions and feelings. But this year I’ve challenged myself to embody the Kate mantra; to do what makes me happy and live my truth. All I, or any of us, can hope for is that while we are trying to do our best, to live the best version of our happiest lives, we have the support and kindness from those we love most. And if we don’t receive that, recognizing we need to rethink those we hold close to us.

Kate has given me inspiration, taught me lessons, strength and courage every day. Not a day goes by that I don’t think about her, miss her, or wish she was still living in our apartment. I know that’s how you can verify the impact of someone on your life when they are gone; when they continue to be a great life teacher after they’ve passed.

Kate has also given me the gift of new friends. Before Kate’s passing, I didn’t hang out with the Wisconsin Crew much, but that changed after our shared tragedy. Now this scrappy group of Badger alum are an integral part of my life.  I can’t thank them enough for their support, love, and friendship this past year.

With the anniversary of Kate’s death comes some good news. The book Kate was working on publishing, Fly With Maya, will soon be available for purchase. You can read more on the website, but in short it’s the amazing story of a girl who travels around the world, meeting engineers along the way on a hot air balloon. It’s a beautiful story of teaching a little girl that she can be anything she wants, even a typically male dominated profession like an engineer.

In memory of Kate, I encourage you to sign up to volunteer, cook a healthy meal from a cookbook you’ve never used, go for a run, arrange a gathering with family or friends, plan your next big vacation, or call a friend you’ve lost touch with. She did all of these things in a single day. If we could all be more like Kate, this world would be a much more wonderful place.

I try, everyday, to be more like Kate.

With love,

Brittny

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Global Running Day

I love Global Running Day. I get sentimental on this day ever year, as it’s a time for me to reflect every year on my running journey, where I’ve come and where I started. I also hope it encourages at least one person who thinks they can’t run or running isn’t for them to give it a try. Because that used to be me, in a big way.

Running is such a big part of my life, and probably more than I realize. I obsess over, prepare, practice, train, and think about running every single day. When I’m not running, I’ve made the conscious decision not to run because my body needs recovery.

I get emotional when I think about running because I never thought I would be a runner. I’ve been running for 7 years, and up until last year I wasn’t comfortable labeling myself as a runner. I always thought running was something outside my wheelhouse; something that only people with a certain body type, who are naturally fast, confident, or gifted could do and do well.

Running is hard- there is no question about that. It hurts. It’s uncomfortable. It’s frustrating. But it’s accepting uncomfortableness that has been one of the most valuable lessons I’ve learned from running. I can’t knock seconds, or even minutes, off my race times without pushing myself to new heights. I have to be vulnerable and take a leap of faith to achieve higher goals. If I want to run faster splits or run farther distances, I have train faster and run more miles. I have to trust the process. Which is another valuable life lesson; as someone who likes being in control it’s scary to put your heart, soul, time and energy into something when you can’t be 100% certain of the outcome. We’re at risk of injury, sickness, bad weather, etc. We’re human after all. At the end of the day, when it comes to running the only thing you can control is the effort you put in. Even if numbers don’t prove it, when I train harder I gain so much; I have more discipline. I am stronger. I am healthier. I feel more like me.

I love geeking out over stats, the feeling when I know I’m going to PR, but most of all talking and bonding over running. Admittedly I prefer to run by myself; I can’t really talk when I run so it just suits me better to run independently. But I never regret it when I run with friends or attend a running meet up. I love hearing about other people’s accomplishments with running; to me, running isn’t competitive. We’re all just trying to beat ourselves; to be better than we used to be. Shoutout to my ladies Peggy and Kate, for the shared encouragement, understanding, love and support with running 🙂

More than any thing I’ve ever done, running has taught me so much about myself. Running has taught me discipline. It has taught me tenacity. Perseverance. Confidence. To be brave, proud of myself and my accomplishments. Running has made me stronger, both physically and mentally. It has guided me through some of the darkest moments of my life. Running has made me a better person.

So that’s why, after I swore I was “one and done” with the marathon, I’m running the Chicago Marathon this fall. My training officially kicked off this week, and I’m all sorts of nervous and excited. I’m also partnering again with Team in Training, which benefits the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. If you’d like to donate to my training page, please do so here.

And if not, that’s okay too. Thank you for reading. Thank you for your support and encouragement. It means the world to me 🙂