She RULES because:
As a fitness instructor, mom, runner and founder of the non-profit Shine Fertility (a charity partner of the SHE Rocks Virtual Run), Katie O’Connor is a woman who wears many “flowers” all woven with passion, purpose and perseverance.
She rules because she never gives up in running or in life. After struggling with infertility, she underwent treatments to hopefully fulfill her dream of becoming a mother, knowingly giving up the one thing that kept her grounded, her love of running. Instead she turned to walking and focused her energy on bringing a new life into the world, knowing one day she could return to running.
In the process she discovered training for a marathon and preparing her body for IVF were ironically similar challenges. Both require dedication to the process, time and careful preparation to ensure you are mentally and physically ready for the big day (the race for the marathon vs. the retrieval and transfer surgery for IVF). Each process and challenge takes you months to prepare for.
In a recent article she wrote:
Both events test you more than you ever thought possible. They break you down, and show you just how strong you are. Just when you think you can’t push anymore, run one more step, or take one more shot, you have success.
Crossing the finish line of my first marathon was pure euphoria, similar to the feeling I had when I heard the words “you are pregnant”.
You are on cloud nine. For a second the world stops, and also feels like it’s spinning around you all at the same time.
She ROCKS because:
Running continues to provide Katie with the strength she needs to overcome anything. In facing her infertility challenge, Katie realized infertility was missing the type of love and support that something like training for a marathon provides both from your own community and the running community.
She rocks because not only did she realize this, but she decided to do something about it by founding her own non-profit, Shine: A Light on Fertility. The organization’s goal is to create a supportive community for women currently facing, or those with the potential to face, an infertility challenge, through support, education and advocacy. Shine provides community events, forums, mentor programs and more to provide support for women and help navigate them through the process.
One thing Katie likes to remind women of is this:
In life you always have a dream of how you will become a mom. While you may not become a mom the exact way you have always thought of, you will get there if you persevere. If you want it bad enough, you can and will reach your goal of becoming a mom. How you get there isn’t as important as attaining and fulfilling such an important life goal and dream.
Katie will also be rocking the Boston Marathon on April 20, 2015 and this time she is running with a purpose, to bring awareness to Shine and sporting her fiercely united orange Fellow Flower.
She RUNS because:
She runs because it gives her strength. After running her first marathon in 2003, Katie was surprised by how this accomplishment transcended into confidence throughout other areas of her life. In fact, she found she was no longer nervous to talk in front of groups of people, something she would’ve never dream of before running her first marathon. More importantly running provides her with an untouchable mental strength and taught her that by giving 110%, she could achieve anything.
While Katie’s non-profit Shine is one of the three charities that SHE Rocks Virtual Run participants are supporting merely by registering, Katie is also participating in the virtual run because she is passionate about celebrating mothers and shedding light on the many women who aspire to become mothers. On a day like Mother’s Day that can be filled with mixed emotions for many, the SHE Rocks Virtual Run is a reminder of the innate and genuine capacity all women have to love, no matter what form that takes because every woman deserves to be celebrated.
Will you join Katie by participating in the SHE Rocks Virtual Run? If so, tell us why you (or a woman you’re running in honor of) rock, rule or run in the comments!