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Home. Sometimes you just have to run home. This weekend I ran home. I ran to my running home. I ran to my running family.
When I decided to run my first marathon I trained alone. I read some books and found a training plan that was manageable. I learned a lot that year and then joined a training group (how that happened is another story for another day!). What I didn’t realize at time was that joining that group would change my life. That group would become my chosen family. My running family.
3 years ago I ran what I now realize was my last marathon. If I had known it would be my last, I would have done things a little differently. No regrets…just some changes. I have signed up and trained since that last marathon but injuries took me out. My running family has always been supportive and ever present even when I thought I didn’t need them.
Saturday I ran home. I went back to the group I call family and the path I call home. The Chicago Marathon this year is virtual and some from the group were running the virtual marathon on the path. I returned to the group with my 4 legged running buddy wearing my tutu! I ran out on the path for a few miles and met up with runners on the last “leg” of the marathon. I walked with and supported the runners as best I know how. I realized it was where I belonged! I was cheering them on home!
I watched as many friends crossed the finish line in an entirely personal fashion. No throngs of people cheering as runners climbed Mount Roosevelt. No “official” finish line. No long walks to water, bananas and family. But what those runners did have was their kids running across the finish line with them. Family right there to hug them at the finish. And a full selection of treats other than bananas! It was amazing!
Today is National Coming Out Day. I know you are wondering what that has to do with running and marathons. Well, as I thought about running home, I realized that so many LQBTQIA+ people do not have a home to run to or even a safe place to run to. Runners, especially marathon runners, run for a reason. Each marathon I run for charity and then dedicate each mile to a special person. Today I ran the Pride Stride 5K, however, I felt called to run more…so I did! I ran for every person who does not feel safe coming out yet. I ran for those without a safe place to call home. I ran for all those who have come out only to be shamed and rejected. I ran……
Working with Free Mom Hugs, I have heard stories from the LQBTQIA+ community that have broken my heart and brought me to my knees. Feeling unloved or incapable of being loved is agonizing and traumatizing. Being forced to live life hidden away, unable to walk in truth, not being accepted and/or judged by family and friends leads to mental health issues, alcoholism, drug abuse and many other self destructive behaviors. As a parent it is our job to love and accept the child we have…not the one we wished we had or the one we wished we were as a kid. Thus, as a Mama Bear(an ally), I accept, hug (virtual now!) and love all LQBTQIA+ people, reminding them that they are worthy, they belong, they matter and they are loved as they are for who they are.
I have stepped into my role as coach, cheerleader and ally with the same determination and dedication as marathon training. This weekend I did not run a marathon but I ran for others. I supported others. I cheered for others. I may or may not run another marathon (never say never) but I know I will always have my chosen family and can always run home. I know that I can and will always provide a safe place for others.
Today I ran 6.2 miles in a tutu with my running buddy (wearing a cape and carrying his ball)! I ran in celebration of love, family, acceptance, belonging, endurance, and because we all deserve a place to run home to.
Peace,
#tutulady
#forwardisapace

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