Thursday, May 19, 2016

My How and Why - Ainsley's Angels in FL #TestimonyThursday

There are so many things I could share about what running has done for me.
I want to start this story though, with a very special I Run 4 runner.
In November 2013, I was matched with my precious sweets, my Joshua.
Runners and buddies chat with each other in our own Facebook group, and so we see everyone doing amazing things, including the opportunity to meet one another.

I love that, here in Florida, we have a great deal of runners and buddies, and I've had the pleasure of meeting several of them. There was one runner, who I love reading about. Her enthusiasm is contagious. Seriously, it is! That would be the one and only Run Jodi !

In November 2014, I was volunteering at a local run, here in Palm Harbor. As I was making my way to the building to assist, I noticed her. She was taking photos with other I Run 4 runners and I was simply Star Struck. I introduced myself and was able to get a photo with Run Jodi.

When Jodi became Ambassador of Ainsley's Angels in Florida, I wanted to learn more and began following the group and the runs and inspirations that seemed to follow Ainsley's Angels. I saw them at events and spoke to my runner friends about them, when they asked hat the "Sea of Pink" was about.

I wear some form of Ainsley's gear to my events. I wear it on a day to day basis also. You can't spread the word on special days, you need to spread it EVERYDAY !

Best Damn Race Safety Harbor 2016
Gasparilla 15k Tampa 2016

I shared when I knew about Ainsley's Angels in Florida and Ainsley, her parents, and their story. People seemed genuinely interested and always made mention if they saw someone wearing Ainsley's Angels gear.

In October 2015, Jodi hosted the Inaugural Ainsley's Angels in Florida Half Marathon. It was on my bucket list, and I decided to run this event. As life moved on and I neglected to train until just weeks before the event, I thought about not going through with the run in person. I knew I was going to be last. I knew I was not ready. But my Joshua doesn't give up and So I didn't either.

So as I ran, walked, and cried my way through my 1st Half Marathon, with so many wonderful Angels by my side as I finished. Run Jodi was there waiting with a hug. It was an emotional ending for me. I finished, who cares if I came in last, I did it !

This year, I decided to become a part of Ainsley's Angels in Florida, officially. After Ainsley passed away in February, I felt like it was something I could do, to help continue the message of Inclusion.
I signed up to be a runner with the Angels. My 1st event was the Iron Girl 5k. To say I was nervous would not do justice to how I was feeling. Team Hilary was rolling with the wind. Myself and 2 other runners made our way through the glorious sunrise and over the Clearwater Memorial bridge (and back again) to my 1st finish as an Angel.

This weekend, our Angels met up, close to home, so the family and I headed our to our local part and ran in a Sea Of Pink !
This isn't just about what I can do, it's about all of us, and how we can make a difference !

There are no words to describe what running does for my soul.
Running for Joshua and talking about I Run 4 is special.
Being a part of Ainsley's Angels is Magical.
Spreading the word of Inclusion, knowing that somewhere, we are lifting spirits and giving someone a change to feel the wind in their hair and cross that finish line, when it would not otherwise be possible, makes every step worth while!

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