I love to run! That wasn’t always the case. I grew up with asthma and running was the last thing I wanted to do, unless I was trying to catch the train on my way to school or work. Then I had to make sure I used my asthma inhaler once I was on that train.

Then in 2016, my husband encouraged me to run 1 mile by the east river. He ran a marathon before and he used running as an outlet from his demanding career. Oh I remember how much I struggled to finish that run. I cried after because I was physically and emotionally drained.


Then, the competitive side of me thought “Oh no - I have to show him I can do this”. We joined several running clubs and races throughout NYC, NJ and Puerto Rico. We ran together and trained often. I remember a cold morning we were surrounded by runners and stretching before the race gun went off and I had a bizarre moment. I looked over at my husband and said, “I think I want to run the marathon. Think I can do it”. He immediately said yes and we began the training process. He believed in me before I believed in myself.


Well, I signed up for the 2017 NYC Marathon and was ready to begin training. I met new people along the way and also learned a few of my friends were runners too. Now, let me tell you about the training journey. We had short and long distance runs where I loved and hated my husband, after all, he was wearing the hat of being my coach. I documented my journey on an old personal Instagram account where friends and family provided me with tons of love and support. I remember being proud when my first toe nail fell off. Yuck! Thankfully it grew back. I was giving it my all despite the broken toe nails, panic attacks, adjusting to weather change, feeling exhausted from putting in the long hours at work and still having to wake up early or stay up late to get my runs in. I had to cut back on the wings and tacos which I love. Also, I limited my outings with friends and family because I was disciplined and determined to be healthy for marathon day.


Then marathon day comes. My clothes were laid out. I had my name on my shirt, which was a hit because the crowd cheered me on though that 26.2 mile NYC block party! My friends and family members were posted in different boroughs to carry us through. I enjoyed the heck out of this marathon! What a shocker for a girl who could barely run to catch the train without wheezing.


Mile 22 comes - yup the wall, when your legs forget what they were meant to do. I look up and see a crowd of strangers offering oranges and leg massages for the cramps. WHY THANK YOU! I didn’t know then but they would later be part of my community (RWB - Red White Blue Eagles).


Being part of a team is important in achieving goals. As I’ve said so many times before - there’s power in community. The training process was so challenging but running through my city and seeing that finish line reminded me of my purpose! Despite the pain you endure, whether physically or emotionally, when you have the right people supporting you, you’ll gain the confidence you need to reach your goals and cross that finish line!


Life is a marathon and you will push through!


“That’s what a comeback is. You have a starting point and you build strength and momentum from there. Stay the course…remain patient. Focus on small steps that are constantly forward.” -Kara Goucher


 

#JessicaRiosFloresLCSWR #therapist #coach #latinatherapist #therapistNYC #latinatherapistNYC #running #wellness #motivation #marathon