I remember to this day how excited I was when I was accepted into the Running Start program in 2015. I had only been out of prison a little over a year at that point and still did not have many friends. The first meeting was hard for me because I didn’t feel like I fit in. Everyone was wearing work out clothes and I was wearing jeans. I remember thinking to myself, “these are not my people.” I thought that no one would ever want to be my friend because of my criminal history and the life I had previously lived.
We all gathered in a circle and went around the room introducing ourselves and sharing about our barrier to fitness. I realized as I listened to everyone else share, that we were ALL ALIKE. There was story after story of women who were starting over from scratch from a divorce or struggling with children who had disabilities. My story of addiction and prison looked just like theirs. We were all looking for support and a network to help us believe in ourselves. We were all looking for something to help us get out of the negative headspace and work towards a goal of being healthier.
That was three years ago and I can say that the Running Start program has transformed my life. You get out what you put in and I dove all in. Today, my best friends are running friends and running has given me a source of self esteem and confidence that I never knew I could have. The discipline of training has taught me that I can do anything if I just keep at it every day. I am forever grateful to the RS program and all the wonderful women I have met along the way. It turns out, they WERE my people.