Being that I was never the athletic type, I didn’t see myself as a strong women. I now look back and fault myself for making that assumption. I now look back and am able to define strong in my own way.

I found my strong in running; it challenges me in the best way possible. It is what I needed to find my strong. Something to chase, something to achieve, running is that something to find my beautiful. The adrenaline is honestly the best high there is.

But going back 10 years,  when diagnosed with exercise-induced asthma, my logic of unathleticism made sense. So why even try to be strong at that point. I struck to yoga, which of course absolutely still fuels my sense of strong, but back then I thought it was all I could do. It didn’t fit the mold of athletic by my definition, once again fueling these false feelings in my head.

The summer of 2017 this all changed. I began to run, inhaler in hand, 90 degree heat and a good friend as my trainer. For the first time I learned one could train using intervals. So I thought to myself this is possible and absolutely it was.  

Then as the weeks and months went on, I began to enjoy running. I wanted a reason to add a mile each week, to go the extra 30 minutes. So I signed up for the CRIM race, 10 miles in downtown Flint.

I spent this past summer training for the race. When signing up, August 25th sounded so far away. Three days a week in 90 degree heat, I continued to push myself each and every step. I always reminded myself that every step forward is one step close to stretching in the shade. I was finally strong, I conquered personal athleticism and on August 25th at approximately 12:45 pm, I crossed the finish line with my trainer and now dear friend Emily beside me with tears in my eyes. The feeling was overwhelming as people lined the street cheering towards the finish line and all I said was, “I can’t believe I just did that.” The overwhelming feeling was accomplishment, success, exhaustion altogether and all worth it. To make it rewarding as I crossed the finish line, the sun came out after threatening thunderstorms all morning.

Training for the Crim truly made me realize I am capable of being athletic, but also not being quick to label myself before allowing to rise to a challenge. The satisfaction from running, is something I can see myself chasing for many years, as long as my body allows.  The feeling of accomplishment is worth it every step.

Strong is much more than how flat your abs might be, how much you can deadlift or how many sports you played in high school.

Be your best beautiful self.  -Gabriella