Welcome to the first edition Friday’s Featured Female in 2014!
The Friday’s Featured Female series features inspirational stories from admirable women. IMHO, it’s always good to be reminded of how strength, determination, hard work, heart and ingenuity can impact the quality of one’s life and I’m proud that these women will allow me to share their stories here.
I teased you a little bit on Monday with who today’s #FFF (new hashtag and self-designed logo) would be today and I’m thrilled to announce that Tiffany@RunningHutch and RunThisYear is kicking off the series for 2014. I met Tiffany at FitBloggin’ and she made a tremendous impact on me with both her sweetness and strength. Her blog not only serves as fitness inspiration for me but the raw honesty she exudes through her writing consistently touches my heart and makes me love her a little more.
So haaave you met Tiffany?
Hi, I’m Tiffany!
I’m the adult-onset runner who quit her job to inspire others toward physical and spiritual health! I write under the name “Running Hutch”, which I’ll explain later. I’m a CrossFit Level 1 Trainer and host the Run This Year online challenge for crazies who want to run the year in miles (2,014 miles baby!).
So that’s my nutshell, and I’m still surprised by it sometimes. As a kid I hated running! It hurt and I was no good at it and I didn’t get why! Well, I had flat feet with falling arches and a mild asthma problem. Apparently I had some real obstacles, but in 6th grade I just thought I was un-athletic and weak. So I avoided running as much as possible, but that is kid’s stuff.
What I really want to share is how physical fitness transformed my life. As a young adult, I really struggled to “find myself” as they say. So let’s start with when I lost my virginity.
I know, we just met and I’m already talking about that! Don’t worry. This is the G-rated version! I was 20 years old and trying to defy the world I grew up in. When I had sex for the first time it was meaningless. I didn’t love the guy. In fact, we weren’t even dating! I grew up in a Christian family but I had given up on the God thing so I was looking to make a point of it. Sad but true. I felt my choices were meaningless. This was the start of letting my life unravel for a few years.
My early 20’s consisted of murdering my self-worth with all the wrong guys. My personal life was pretty crappy, but I had big career plans. After college, I got a dream internship in China! Then everything went horribly wrong. I wound up fired, jobless and almost homeless in a country where I could barely speak the language. Mondo slap in the face! I began to see myself as failure with a Bachelor’s degree.
This was the pits. I felt like the living dead. I couldn’t be alone with my own thoughts. This is when I wanted to pray for help but couldn’t. I had no community, no confidence, and no idea what to do. I wasn’t suicidal, but I was deeply aware that I didn’t want my life, not like this anyway.
The Turning Point
So…weirdly…I “made a deal” with God. My plans sucked so if He had something more meaningful in mind, I was game. From that point on, things I would never have chosen became a part of my life and my restoration.
One of those things was running. I started dating a guy at church and somehow we convinced each other to run a marathon and join Team in Training. The team nicknamed me “Hutch” based on my maiden name. They were the only people in the world that saw me as a runner. “Hutch” became my running alter ego. Tiffany couldn’t run marathons, but Hutch could!
As I battled an identity as a failure, running was a weapon to combat the negative thoughts. I ran out my anger. I ran through my insecurities. The slow process that is marathon training created a new identity for me. “Running Hutch” walk/jogged her way through 10 and 20 mile training runs. Things I once thought were impossible, were becoming possible. I had a community, I was making a positive contribution to it, and I began to discover myself. If a kid who hated running could grow up and run a marathon, what else could be done?!
My boyfriend and I ran our first marathon together. We were in pain the entire way; my foot, his knee. We got each other to the finish line and that’s how I knew he was the one. Now, 6 years later, I’ve ran many other races. A 50k ultra helped me clarify my priorities and led to the decision to quit my full-time job. I would never have asked for it, but running was a great gift. It was like God knew I needed it to discover my value and get me on a better path.
I coach group fitness classes and help others train for marathons. I love seeing the fire for life and self-confidence that comes when someone finishes their first marathon or does their first pull up. I know how that achievement bleeds over into other areas of their life and I get excited for them.
I see people, each one of us, as an artful integration of the physical and spiritual. I fully believe that physical health is an integral part of who we are. Without developing our physical aspect, we’re seriously short changing ourselves. We’re not living life to the full.
When I quit my marketing job, my plan was to just run and blog and see where that took me. It has taken me to this: I want to encourage others to live fuller lives, to reveal their self-worth and inner strength through the integration of physical and spiritual training. I want to transform the negative dialogue about our bodies into a healthier view of the positive role it plays in our lives.
My Plans for 2014!
I’m starting an online network called FFinspired (Faith and Fitness Inspired) and I’m creating a 10 week challenge to encourage others to connect their physical and spiritual health. I will continue running, I have a date with a sub 2 hour half this year, and share my adventures. I am pretty open book about life on my blog (see “My Story Project”).
Thanks for reading! Thanks to Melissa for letting me share!
You can get in touch with Running Hutch here:
Feel free to let Tiffany your thoughts on her post and if you know someone who should be featured on Friday’s Featured Female (maybe it’s you?), let me know.