Meet Shawna who is courageous, strong and beautiful!
Yes you are worth it!
I am worth it!
I am not sure why, but I have the
overwhelming desire to share my story today. I feel that many people are my
'friends' on FB or my followers on Twitter, but have no idea who I am or where I
came from. I can see in your stories and the things you have shared with me that
you struggle with things that I have experienced or continue to experience.
I have been told recently that people look up to and admire me. Those
comments mean the world to me. There was a time I didn't like myself. I didn't
like who I was or what I thought people thought of me. It took growing up, the
love of my husband, my faith, and running to help me see that I am worth it. I
am worth the effort, I am worth the time, and I am worth the struggle that I
have endured. All of it combined as made me pretty amazing!
Here is how I
My Dad was never really around. He drank and hung out at bars more often than he
was home. When he was around he wasn't attentive. I don't remember any good
memories with him. There was always
drama in my house. When I was 8, my parents
split up for the final time. When I was 12 my Dad went to prison. For a very
serious crime and for a very long time.
His prison sentence was horrible
to understand. I took it as a direct reflection of me and who I was. I didn't
want anyone to know where he was. When I was 14 we moved to Chihuahua Valley to
live on my Grandparents' property. My freshman year of high school included a
new set of friends, a new school (my 12th since kindergarten), and new fear. I
didn't want anyone to know where my Dad was and I constantly worried about it.
I played softball then and constantly looked to my uncles for their
approval. It never came. They were very good at comments like, "you throw like a
girl, you run like a girl, you play girl sports." They were baseball coaches and
their acceptance (or lack of it) meant a lot to me.
Just like every high
school kid, I wanted acceptance and social standing with my peers. I also wanted
acceptance from boys. All through high school I had tons of boy friends
but no boyfriends
. I thought it was because I just wasn't attractive or
popular enough for them to like me.
What followed HS was a horrible
marriage to the absolute wrong man. Like many young girls feeling unattractive,
I married the first guy that showed interest. We had a baby and a divorce within
Divorced and a single mom at 20. I had no good prospects of a career, no college
education, and no hope. I really felt horrible and useless.
later I met Brady. He adored Lucas and I. He was so good to both of us. In the
back of my mind I thought he would get bored and move on. Who wants to be the
Daddy to a child that is not biologically yours? Apparently, Brady
Six months after we met he left for Marine Security Guard School. I
was devastated. He made me so happy and the thought of losing him was crushing.
His MSG tour was 30 months long (I only saw him 4 times in those months), and
somehow, we made it through it. We were married 4 days after he came home. After
we were married, we moved to Fort Lewis, WA.
While living there, I got
pregnant and had Colby. We were so happy to have added this sweet little boy to
our family. Brady also officially adopted Lucas. I knew our family would last,
but I felt like I had married out of my league and was really lucky to have
Brady. A small part of me doubted him when he told me I was wonderful and
amazing. I didn't feel worthy of that praise.
Meanwhile, I got fat.
Horrible eating habits and a complete lack of exercise added up to over 200
pounds. I was miserable in my own skin. We moved to Hawaii and I was too fat to
wear a bathing suit. Too fat to enjoy the outdoors with my sons.
2003, I took control. I lost over 50 pounds and began to really live for the
first time in my adult life. I started walking, and then running. I ran my first
10k with Brady on Marine Corps Base Hawaii. Other Marines were saying things
like, "How cool you ran together" and "I wish my wife would run with me, she's
still in bed" It made me feel amazing. Not only physically, but mentally. I
loved that I could run with Brady. I know it was painfully slow for him, but he
didn't seem to care. He was so proud of me.
We moved to Uganda and then
Barbados. I had Mimi and was faced with losing the weight again. I went back to
running, which meant 1 mile loops in our cul-de-sac while pushing a jogging
stroller. Upon moving back to Hawaii, I raced a few 5ks with that same stroller.
Running was the key to my weight and so much of my confidence.
deployed to Afghanistan in 2008, many things occurred that took me off track.
Our lives were turned upside down and running was completely abandoned for about
10 months. I gained weight and self-loathing because of it. Looking back on it,
the therapy that running provides would have helped, but I didn't see past our
problems to know that.
In the summer of 2010 we moved to California and I rediscovered my love of the
run. To celebrate my 35th birthday and graduation from my PhD program, I signed
up for the Disneyland Half Marathon. I used a training plan for the first time
and loved the routine.
I was petrified to run 13.1 miles. I really wasn't
sure I could do it. When I called Brady from the finish line he said, "Is there
ANYTHING you can't do?" Turns out that finish line sparked an all-out
Since that 13.1 mile journey, I have run 16 half marathons, 22
marathons, and 9 ultras (including 2 100+ milers). I am always scared and
experience self doubt a lot, but it doesn't stop me. I know that with the right
determination and training, I really can do anything I set my mind to do. It has
been a long journey, but I believe in myself. I love myself, and I can't wait to
find out what lies ahead for me!
You can visit Shawna at: http://shawnaruns.blogspot.com/