I wasn’t always a runner. In fact I use to be a basketball player in college, but really fell in love with running on a whole new level when I moved to Charlotte 4 years ago. It truly is an incredible running community and city.
Running has taught my so much about myself: hard work, dedication, commitment and the feeling of ‘true beauty’. When I was two years old I was diagnosed with an auto immune condition called alopecia, which causes all of my hair to fall out. It was devastating; kids were so mean to me, always making fun of me, and I truly hated myself and never felt pretty or like I was ever enough. Sports really saved me and became my escape.
Going into my senior year of college I ran my first marathon on a whim, just to cross if off my bucket list, but the feeling of crossing that finish line with the crowds of people changed everything for me. I fell in love with running at that moment, and knew it was something I wanted to pursue.
Post Injection Ortho 5KOrtho 5K
My goal was to run 27 marathons before I turned 27, and I just completed that accolade in June in San Diego. Once I really started running I had this new found feeling of accepting, loving and embracing my alopecia. For the first time in my life I wasn’t wearing a wig, and I felt beautiful without it. When I am running I feel free, it’s just me and the road. I’m not focused on my bald head or having people look at me. If it wasn’t for running I don’t think I ever would of accepted my alopecia, and embraced it. My bald head is one of the things I love most about myself, along with the pre-race good luck head rubs I always get.
The running community in general is an incredible, supportive, strong community who always looks to build others up, and give you a pat on the back when you need it. Having the opportunity to live here in Charlotte and be a runner is a dream come true. I love waking up way before the sun on a Saturday to get a run in. I love running through the Dilworth neighborhood right by my apartment for the safety, then when the sun comes up (finally) hitting the greenway and taking that all the way to the end through Myers Park. I love seeing the sun come up in the morning, breathing in the fresh morning air, and thinking how lucky I am to be alive and enjoying life. All of the runners I see out working hard is so motivating, to know we’re all in this together. I love seeing the smiles and waves, definitely makes a long run more enjoyable.
My ‘go to’ items when running are most definitely the Nike Free shoes. I have always been a fan of the lightness feel of the shoe. I also need to always have my music; nothing like Drake to get me through a long run. In the past, I always just ran marathons, but have gotten into all other types of races lately, trail racing has become a new favorite of mine. I am preparing for my first ultra marathon at the Whitewater Center this October and can’t wait to tackle that obstacle.
Running has truly changed my life in the best way possible; helping me to accept my alopecia and feel beautiful. I love showing off my bald head, and educating others on what alopecia is. The Charlotte runners have been nothing but friendly, supportive and always interested in what alopecia is. I love living here and being apart of the runners community, I wouldn’t change it for anything!
Happy Running Charlotte!