My name is Lili and I live in Miami, FL with my husband and two toddler aged girls. I don’t know what changed me more, running my first marathon or having my first child. It’s hard to tell because it happened all around the same time. I ran my first marathon in New York back in 2009, just seven months before I had my first daughter. I ran my second just one year after my second daughter was born.
It is an understatement to say that the last three years of my life have been a rocky, sleepless roller coaster. But somehow the 5 a.m. long runs, frigid ice baths, achy joints, and sports beans made the nighttime nursing, potty training, and “terrible twos” much more bearable.
Oddly enough, there are many similarities between training for a marathon and parenting. For one—the more you train, the better prepared you are for the race. In parenting, the more you DO IT (the parenting that is), the better you get, or at least I’d like to think so. This is probably where the term “Marathon Mom” comes from. I hope I have earned that rank in some way.
Rewind three years and I can tell you my strongest motivation for running my first marathon was to fulfill a dream I had my entire life. I have always liked to run, but an overuse injury prevented me from running in my early 20’s. It had gotten so bad that doctors told me I would never run again. After about four years off the treadmill, I joined a “boot camp” in my hometown. With the support of my coaches and gym mates, I trained and ran my first half marathon in March of 2009. I was ecstatic and couldn’t believe what my body had just overcome. After running 13.1 miles, a distance I first thought impossible, I felt I could accomplish anything. My training partner, Flo, and I immediately joined the lottery for the NYC marathon and ran it in November of the same year. My life changed when I crossed that finish line. For the first time I believed that anything was possible.
In 2010 I would have my first child, which was quickly followed by a second child in January of 2012. Running quickly became more significant, because what was once a personal goal was now a vehicle to teach my daughters the importance of living an active, healthy life. This is something I have always been an advocate for. I have even returned to school to complete a master’s degree in sports science at Florida International University, where I work as a success coach and advisor. I want to continue to spread my advocacy for a healthier generation through the public school and higher education systems.
This is why I am so excited to represent Team Healthier Generation. The mission of the Alliance, working to eliminate childhood obesity and to inspire all young people in the United States to develop lifelong, healthy habits is perfectly aligned with what I believe is important. You know what they say … third times a charm. So for my third marathon, I will run the Marine Corps Marathon this October and do so to raise money and awareness for the Alliance for a Healthier Generation.
The fight against childhood obesity is far from simple and involves a collective effort, but with real passion and steadfast determination, anything is possible. I am honored to be a part of such a valuable movement.
This may just be my most satisfying finish line yet!