My name is Annette and I am honored to be a Road Warrior for this year’s 25K. I have not always been a runner, and to say I am now still sounds strange to me. My running began in high school as a member of the track and cross country team. I was not fast, but I did manage to place every once in a while. I loved being part of a team and I liked the feeling of accomplishment from the hard work and dedication. After graduating, I joined the Military and am very proud to have served our Country. More running was in my future with Basic Training, Advanced Individual Training, and my favorite, Airborne School at Ft Benning GA. It seems if you want to jump out of airplanes, the Army wants you to be fit. I served in the Army for three years as a Parachute Rigger and four years as an MP (Military Police). For seven years, I participated in morning PT (Physical Training). After the completion of my second enlistment, I left the Army with an Honorable Discharge. It was at this point I stopped running. No more mandatory morning formations, so that was it, I was done.
For the next 20 plus years I focused on my job and family. My activity level was what I would call average and I did not have a regular exercise routine at all. Then one day, my sister asked me to run a half marathon with her. I thought….there is no way I could just walk out the door and run 13 miles. She wasn’t letting me off that easy. She said “you don’t have to start with the whole distance, start with a half mile and work up from there.” Her words of encouragement were all I needed and I started to train. I began with run/walking and continued to add distance a little at a time. In 2009, with Marianne at my side, I ran my first half marathon and finished. Next for me was to join in on a great community event. I signed up for my first Fifth Third River Bank Run. In 2012, I decided to attempt a marathon. How could I say no to my sister (yes same one) when she told me it was on my 50th Birthday. Knowing I would need support to train for that distance, I joined a local training program, which turned out to be one of the best decisions I ever made.
In the past years, I have completed many local runs, several half marathons, three marathons and I have run the Fifth Third River Bank Run 25K four times. With the support of my first Team Leader, Mike, I even completed the Muncie 70.3 Triathlon. I am grateful for my health and I am thankful for the friendships that have formed through Gazelle, RunGR and the running community. These amazing people are so supportive and encouraging and a joy to be around. They have cheered my victories and talked me through the times of doubt.
As a Road Warrior, I want to inspire you to meet your goals. Whether it is getting your best time or running for the very first time, I want to offer you my support. I once had an aid station worker run up a hill with me because she saw I was struggling. All the small acts of kindness, from complete strangers, to my running buddies and family, are my motivation for wanting to give back. Come out and join the fun. Together we can do this!