Running is an instrument of learning. What most people see are sweaty, yet happy people training in the summer heat. What they do not see are the many life lessons we carry on the inside.
This week, for my "Once upon a Run" feature, I want to introduce you to Christine Soliman. I met Christine at a playground where our kids went to Preschool. I didn't see her for a while, then I recognized her at my running group a few years ago. I remember that at the time she wasn't sure if she was going for the full or the half marathon at Houston. She finished her first Chevron Houston Marathon in January and she is back for more!
Christine always enjoyed running but she got back to it after losing her daughter Gabriella in 2013.
"Losing Gabriella taught me that nothing is guaranteed for tomorrow. In a split of a second everything can change," she said. "I've always wanted to run a marathon but was always waiting for the "right" time. I decided I can't keep waiting, if I was ever going to see that dream to fruition I had to start. I run to honor Gabriella and her fight against cancer and to take care of the body God gave me."
I asked Christine what was her favorite Houston miles and she said her favorite was mile 8.
"I love that stretch after the full and half marathons split. You run through that long stretch with the trees. There was actually not a lot of people there. It was very peaceful and I was still feeling good. I wasn't struggling so it was just a great place to stop and think 'hey, I'm actually doing this!'"
Her second favorite mile is mile 23 where the Fort Bend Fit tent was and Lajuan (FBF Member) spotted her and ran up the hill with her. "It gave me confidence to push through and finish," she said.
Christine also enjoyed running through a neighborhood where all the residents were cheering and offered the runners m&ms, orange slices and other goodies. "I thought it was so thoughtful, I was touched that they not only came out to cheer but brought us snacks!" Christine said.
Running is an outlet for Christine as well as a place to connect with God through prayer and worship. Christine is a married mother of little ones so I asked her if she would give words of encouragement to moms who want to start running. Here's what she said:
"As moms we don't give ourselves enough credit for what we can do. We always tell ourselves 'I can't do that, my schedule is too busy.' But the reality is you can and you will and you will when you start telling yourself you can. It's just getting out there in small steps. You don't have to go for the full marathon when you first start. Go for the 5k or the 10k and slowly build up. We're strong, women are strong!"
I am thankful for Christine's life and for who she is. Every time I see her, I am encouraged to keep running and keep doing my best in all areas of my life. Do join me in praying that God will continue to bless Christine as she takes care of her family and pursues her goals. I can't wait to see her with her medal at the finish line of the Chevron Houston Marathon in January!
On a personal note, Saturday our running group completed a 6-mile run. I decided not to do any extra mileage this year and stick with my "new year, new runner" plan I set for myself. I also took time to program intervals in my watch. I held back the speed in the beginning and ran smart. As I followed my plan, I cut 30 seconds of my average mileage! Not bad for a summer run! I'm so thankful. I got my first "confession" for January. Last Saturday I kept telling myself "I'm content with who I am, where I am." This message has been of great encouragement lately and I will stick with contentment as I continue in this journey! Thanks for reading friends!
• Week 1
• Week 2
• Week 3
• Week 4
Read the stories of my previous Marathons in Houston:
• Chevron Houston Marathon 2014
• Chevron Houston Marathon 2015
• Chevron Houston Marathon 2016