Ohio Blogging Association’s Cleveland November Blog Swap

Today, I am participating in the Ohio Blogging Association‘s Cleveland November Blog Swap. Bloggers from around the Northeast Ohio area are guest posting on each other’s blogs. My swap guest is Kali Price, from http://finishingfirsts.com. For a full listing of blog swap participants, please visit www.poiseinparma.com

Hi LYMTYK readers! As Janie said, my name is Kali and I blog over at http://finishingfirsts.com. I work as a certified personal trainer and I spend the rest of my time doing crazy things like running ultra marathons. I blog mostly about running, training and fun fitness things that happen in lovely Cleveland, OH.

I’ve been told the OBA blog swap pairings were random, but I think God definitely had a hand in pairing Janie and me. My boyfriend, Patrick, is a 1st lieutenant in the Army and is currently stationed in Korea until the end of October 2012. He and I met in college and have been together for four years, on and off, but mostly off, until we got back together a year ago when he had returned to the U.S. after serving a year in Afghanistan.

During the “off” time, I started running in April 2009 (a few months before he deployed). I began running primarily for weight loss. After losing a total of 90 lbs. in about 16 months, I kept running because I loved it and loved running races. I ran my first half marathon (13.1 miles) in May 2010 and my first marathon (26.2 miles) in October of the same year.

The more I ran, the more it became about me and reaching my goals, rather than continuing to lose weight. It started to become my time to think, and though we didn’t speak during his deployment, I thought about Patrick often, especially while I was running. I wondered how he was, if he was safe, what he was doing, if he thought about me too, etc. And apparently he did, since shortly after he was stateside again, we started talking and I was plus one marathon cheerleader.

We’ve spent the most recent portion of our relationship apart — he was stationed at Fort Bragg until the end of September this year and I’ve stayed here in Cleveland. We got to spend much of October together, as he was on leave before heading to Korea. We had the opportunity to take a vacation (where I ran my second marathon. The photo below is after I finished) and spent a lot of time together before he left for another year.

A few days before Patrick left, a soldier, Ashley White- Stumpf, who he knew from the ROTC program in college, was killed by an IED in Afghanistan. I only met her once that I actually remember.

The night before Patrick left, I decided I wanted to start a run streak — running at least a mile every single day — for the year he will be gone. I decided I would set aside a dollar each day and dedicate one mile of my run to send to a scholarship fund that was set up for Ashley (there’s more to it, which will be detailed on my blog soon, so keep checking for updates if you’re interested).

Since that day at the end of October, running has become about more than training for races, beating my best times and reaching a goal. It’s become a release, a form of therapy and a way to deal with the things I can’t control — death, deployments, not knowing what will happen in Patrick’s and my future, etc.

I’ve run nearly 200 miles already, including my first 50K ultra marathon (31 miles) and my seventh half marathon. And during every run, I think of Ashley and other service members who gave the ultimate sacrifice for us. I think of others who are serving our country and away from home, keeping us safe and doing such an awesome job. And, of course, I think of Patrick, his service to our country and how I’m proud to say that I’m dating my hero.

Thank you Kali. We are proud of you for supporting your hero! May God bless Patrick,our troops, and their families and bring our soldiers home safely  to those who love them.