By Melissa Carr
FFCrew + FF Blog contributor + runner + Her Madison Half lead ambassador
Declare it Day 2015 was a huge part of one of the most transformative years of my life. A month earlier, after a friend challenged me, I had signed up for Her Madison Half Marathon. Never having run more than 4 miles, and not being a natural athlete, this goal terrified me. I truly didn’t know how I would do it.
On Declare it Day, I walked into the Madison, WI party and saw friends and strangers alike, a beautiful group of women, dressed up, each woman bravely stepping forward to say “I am worth it” and “I will do this, just watch me”. With a deep breath, I wrote “Run a half marathon” on my declaration. That part was certain. As for the “I’m doing this because”, that was more difficult. I wasn’t sure yet. On the surface, it was because my friend had challenged me and I didn’t want to let myself down by saying no. I knew there was more to it, I just didn’t know what it was yet. So I wrote, “I turn 40 this year and it will be my best year yet – I deserve it!” Oh, the foreshadowing…I had no idea. NO idea how life-changing the coming year would be.
It turns out, my training was an incredible journey of self-definition and self-discovery that I didn’t even know I needed, and through it I became friends with some of the most amazing women I will ever meet. Many are a part of FFCrew and many are local, some right here on my street. I knew many of them previously, but we grew close through training and their support and friendships mean the world to me. Through my training and their friendships, I began to find myself again. I hadn’t realized how lost I had become until I began to emerge on the other side: I was lit up again. I was passionate again. I was excited again. It was an incredible feeling. It was my “why.”
On race day, there was no doubt what flower I would wear. It had to be orange: Fiercely United. Crossing that finish line after 13.1 miles and crushing my Declare it Day goal was one of the most incredible and proudest moments of my entire life. I had found myself again and I wouldn’t have gotten there without my family and my beautiful, inspiring running friends. For health, for hope, for each other, always. I look forward to Declare it Day 2016 and can’t wait to see what the coming year has in store!
Declare It Day is February 6.
Join us. Honor your journey, your reasons, your failures.
Be willing to fall… determined to rise.