Hen House Heroes Never Give Up

All Hen House Heroes have one thing in common:  they never give up.  Leigh is a “Chickening IN” woman who persevered because it was the right thing to do.  Little did she know, passion was taking root in her heart and a love for running was about to bloom.  Initially, Leigh didn’t enjoy the sport.  Up until about 10 years ago (age 39) it wasn’t a part of her life nor did she imagine she would enjoy it so much.  This is what makes Leigh’s story so inspiring…she was not a natural born runner, but if you met her now you would never know it.

A Little Background About Leigh

Leigh is an amazing woman.  She has been happily married for 22 years.  She is a Homeschool mom with two teenage boys. Leigh shares her love of homeschooling by encouraging and teaching moms about homeschooling. With a diverse working background, Leigh has found satisfaction in knowing a little about a lot of things.  It has helped her to have wonderful conversations with a wide variety of people.  But if she had to pick a favorite job….her experience in the travel industry has spurred a love for other cultures and countries.   She is excited to plan race locations in destinations where she can experience new cultures, people and running terrain/landscapes.

It’s Never Too Late to Take Care of Yourself

Leigh’s running journey began when she was 39.  Her boys were little and she was in poor physical shape.  Running seemed like a good idea.  Leigh liked the outdoors and didn’t want to be confined to a gym. Running didn’t cost much (just a good pair of shoes) and she didn’t need to hire a trainer to get started.  Leigh hit the pavement and was able to make her first 5K run.  She admits it was a  half-hearted attempt and she didn’t understand the value of support.  Training and races were sporadic and she lacked love for the sport. Leigh’s first endeavor to become a dedicated runner ended.

Try and Try Again

In 2009 living in a new city…the home of the CIM (California International Marathon), Leigh joined a homeschool group.  A few of moms were creating relay teams to run the CIM and they asked her to join.  Being new to the city and the group, Leigh thought this would be a great way to get connected and build friendships so she agreed. Quickly she began training and made it to the big race day.  Leigh accomplished her goal and ran the CIM relay.  Soon after, set goals to run additional races with some success, however, she became burned out.  Leigh enjoyed the social aspects of running with teammates and the sense of accomplishment, but the love of running was still missing.  Due to burnout and life circumstances Leigh stopped running.

Try, Try Again and Try Again…

They say the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again but expecting different results.  Leigh, approaching her 47th birthday and feeling the toll age begins to take on the body, knew she needed to do something different.  Daily activities were getting harder to do and she felt she was living to die. Once again, running came to her mind.  After all it’s free and there are no excuses to putting on a pair of running shoes and hitting the pavement.   Leigh knew she needed to do it differently this time…she needed an accountability partner. The next door neighbor was the perfect running partner.

Try a Different Approach

Having a partner was a great idea but it wasn’t fail proof.  Leigh still fell prey to inconsistency.  If one person was ill or couldn’t make it then neither of them ran.  Instead of giving up, they added another person to their team and bingo!  Three was the magic number.  If one couldn’t make it, two could still run and Leigh began to reap the benefits of constant running.

Tweak Your Plan Until You Get it Right

Still not in love with running, Leigh came across a national running group called Mom’s Run This Town or MRTT (2500 members).  She got connected with the local chapter’s Facebook page.  Not convinced she was good enough to join the group…she admits to stalking their Facebook page for several months.  Inspired by what she saw, she signed up and began meeting up with ladies who ran the same pace as she did.  This was a game changer for Leigh. Building relationships on the many road and trail runs, she became accountable to other runners as she began to organize and host group runs.

Love for Running Bloomed August 2015

After consistent training, setting goals, and getting connected with MRTT, Leigh’s passion for running started to bloom.  She has come to realize that running is part of her lifestyle. It has given her a fuller, more vibrant life with richness a color.

As for her 49-year-old body…she isn’t focused on the cons of aging anymore.  In fact, she feels more energetic with sustained energy all day, and is getting quality sleep.  In addition, thankfulness for her body and the ability to run has deepened.  She is grateful to God…grateful for her next breath and her next step.

The Journey Belongs to You

Leigh’s story inspires us not to give up.  When you know your’e doing what is right but you continue to fail…consider Leigh.  Look for ways to tweak your action plan.  Embrace where you are in your journey and resist the temptation to compare yourself to others.  Remember these words from Leigh:

“You are a beautiful masterpiece, with a unique combination of body, mind, emotion, and spirit. There is no one like you, so comparing yourself to others is like comparing apples to penguins. Don’t do that to yourself. It’s futile. This journey is yours and yours alone. And there is beauty in that process. Find what works for you.”

 

Leigh’s Accomplishments 2016:

Leigh set out to complete 6 half-marathons this year.  To date she has surpassed her goals with a total of 13 half-marathons and logging just over 1,000 miles!  WOW!  Now that is Chickening IN!  In 2017 her goal is to run her first 30K and full marathon at the CIM in December.  Leigh is a true Hen House Hero for doing what was right, never giving up, and showing us that passion can develop over time!

Leigh’s Advice for New Runners:

  1. Get a good pair of shoes…very important.  I strongly encourage that you get your gait assessed and proper fitting of the shoe through a reputable running shoe store.
  2. Join a running club like MRTT.
  3. Don’t compare yourself to others – live your journey.
  4. Surround yourself with people who have already accomplished the goals you are aspiring to accomplish.
  5. Consistency and accountability are key.