Written by Turquoise Fellow Flower, Kimberly Wilderspin, Cedarville, MI
I never imagined I would run a marathon. Then again, I never imagined I would get a divorce. In my case, the timing of these two events were synchronous with each other. I had started running 3 years ago (2012), running my first 5K with a group of co-workers—incredible women—I was instantly hooked.
Learning About Myself and Committing to 26.2
I didn’t venture too much out of my comfort zone that year, mainly sticking with 5K races. The following season, in 2013, I decided to branch out a little. I pushed myself a little further, learned about myself in the process of self-determination and inner strength. It was that year I accomplished my first 10K and first half marathon. Still, running a marathon seemed unattainable to me. How any one person could run 26.2 miles in a single trek was beyond me. That was until a friend of mine, a fellow runner, planted the seed in my mind of us running the Detroit Marathon in 2014.
Fear and doubt has a way of creeping in and keeping oneself from accomplishing goals. I pushed those emotions aside as I hopped online at 12:01 a.m. on January 1, officially registering for my first marathon. I knew as soon as I registered, I knew what color flower I would be proudly displaying in my hair that October day—Turquoise—Believe. In that moment, I truly believed in me.
Written by Fellow Flower, Walisa Dickson, Brunswick, OH
I declared it. I focused on it. I did it! Goal accomplished (with a smile)!
On Declare It Day (DID) 2014, I declared to run my first full marathon at the Detroit Free Press Marathon event. I registered on January 1, 2014. Writing my declaration on a certificate, taking a picture and declaring it online in front of thousands of other women made it SUPER real.
My 2014 Journey and Preparing for 2015
The journey to the full marathon event day was exciting, motivating, over-anticipated and stressful. The journey and lessons learned will help me prepare for Declare It Day 2015 (February 7, 2015).
I plan to participate in DID 2015 because the courage, strength and amount of support I gained from DID 2014 was phenomenal. The declaration I made remained in my mind the entire time I trained, which provided a bit of a push and didn’t allow me to give up. DID 2014 also helped me stay focused.
Written by Fellow Flower, Lori Haldeman, Janesville, WI
Perfect Timing for a Challenge
I was diagnosed with Lymphoma- Stage 4 in June 2013 and had completed 5 rounds of chemotherapy. When I first saw the challenge posted, I was doing my maintenance treatments. I was intermittently running—with little purpose—just to get out for stress relief and for the health benefits. I’ve been a runner for about 7 years and always ran with a purpose, but at this particular moment in my life I felt very unorganized in all sorts of ways.
Declare It Day gave me a definitive challenge. To make a commitment! To run with purpose! To hold myself accountable! To let everyone know that I had a goal!
I am currently 68 years old and have just discovered running, thanks to my daughter. I started running in April 2013, and my daughter talked me into running a half marathon relay in Sarasota, taking place in March 2014. During that time, I was running/walking about 3 miles every other day. I was a little scared, but I signed up.
Check my 2014 “Declare It Day” goals off the list!
This is a (true) story of how two women, who had never met, were united by a goal and a flower, which helped them developed a friendship along the way.
Supporting Each Other and Finding Our Flower
A few hours after I posted my “Declare It Day” goal on February 1, 2014, I received a message from Tami.
Tami: Are you doing the Half Ironman in Muncie? I noticed the dates on our goals were the same.
Me (in my head): Yes! After mustering the courage to publicly state what had been mulling around in my head for months, I was a little horrified that someone had actually noticed what I had declared! Wait, she was crazy enough to do the same thing. I think I’m going to like this girl!
I found Fellow Flowers several years before my consistent running injuries and loved all of their stuff, but had never found a flower that I could identify with. Until Declare It Day 2014, when I found my match. Here’s my story.
When I set my goal for Declare It Day (DID) 2014, I hadn’t been running for a year because of an injury that wouldn’t heal. During that time, I had ample opportunity to think about how I had ended up injured for over a year. I realized that running races unprepared as a result of being too busy to train, and finishing those races injured was becoming the most consistent thing about my running. It also gave me a chance to wallow in the daily stresses that had all too easily taken the place of exercise of in my life, and to throw one heck of a pity party for myself.
For a variety of reasons, I was not in a good place mentally or physically. Much of that was because I had prioritized just about everything else in my life above my own health, happiness and healing. Towards the end of last year, I found the Silver Flower. Its message of hope and healing coming out of a place of brokenness spoke to me. I knew it was time for a change and the only way that could happen is if I made a decision to move forward … for me and no one else.
I found out about Fellow Flowers from a friend of mine. She participated in the first Declare It Day (DID) in 2013, and I remember seeing her posts about it on Facebook. After that, I purchased my first (and my favorite) Green Flower—Courage.
Wearing my Green Flower, in August 2013, I ran my first timed 5K race. After that, I continued running throughout the year. Several friends encouraged me to consider running longer distances but I was content with the 5K distance and I didn’t see myself as a “real” runner yet. Then I saw a Fellow Flowers magnet, “When she realized she was brave enough, everything changed” – and realized that’s what I was missing: courage.
Staying Motivated (and Sane)
In October 2013, my world changed. I came home from a conference to find my husband ill. Overnight, due to his health challenges, I became a caregiver to him as much as he’d let me. Since it was October, leaves needed to be raked and fall chores needed to be done; I took care of the house and yard through the fall and winter.
:: CALLING ALL HEROES ::
To honor a hero, to be a hero. Because this is so much bigger than me.
How many of you can relate to having this moment while running? When the reason you’re out there is so far beyond yourself that you can’t help but feel love, connection and pure raw emotion. A greater meaning takes over and with it, offers an entirely different purpose and perspective. Often times, it changes us at very deep place in our being, our soul, our core.
You know them.
Your parent, your sibling, your child, your partner, your spouse.
Your sole sister. Your running brother.
Your friend, your neighbor, your colleague.
A cause, a mission, a battle.
One person. Many. All.
Your ally, your angel, your everything.
A person you have never met. A country far away.
For honor, for gratitude, for courage, for love.
They are our heroes.