My story of struggle began at 15 when I started to abuse alcohol for comfort.
As an overweight kid, I never felt truly accepted, or worthy. To add to my self loathing, a best friend of my father’s would come over before he got home from work graciously allowing me to drink, while he continued to scar me for years to come with the memories of where his hands traveled.
As the years passed, I kept my secrets, my airline bottles, and my self hatred hidden, living in a silent world of loneliness. Eventually I met a wonderful man, and 24 years later, we have two beautiful girls. I thought marriage, the white picket fence, and raising a family would end my battle with the bottle, and my food addiction, but to my dismay, it did not. I struggled with on again-off again sobriety, and yo-yo dieting.
One morning, I stumbled out of bed (hung over of course) with remnants of the red wine spilled over on my nightstand, I looked in the mirror and said not one day more. I began my committed journey into sobriety, and weight loss, in 2007. Shortly after my sister-in-law told me about an 18 mile race at Long Beach Island, NJ. She called me and said you should run down the island (kiddingly of course). Something in that conversation stuck with me. I could not stop thinking about it. I had never been athletic, heck I couldn’t even run to my mailbox at the end of my driveway, and certainly had never run even one mile. I took the plunge, signed up for the race, and thought…eh it’s only 18 miles!!!!!
The rest is history, and so began my absolute love of running. Running saved my life, it restored me back to wellness. It was a true friend when all I wanted was to feel the whiskey burn go down my throat. It never disappointed, It listened with me, it cried with me, it laughed, it gave me hope. I crossed the finish line and made it to Barnegat Lighthouse exactly 18 miles from where I had started. Since that day, I have run 12 full Marathons, with my ultimate dream of running the Boston Marathon.
I now believe I am an athlete. I am sober, I am free, and I am living proof that anything is possible if you believe it is. Tell your story, and help to free others of their internal demons.
TTC: What is one tip you wish you could tell every beginner runner?
Suzanne: That ANYTHING is possible. My first race ever was 18 miles. Mindset is everything. IF you say you can’t… you won’t. If you believe you can…NOTHING CAN STOP YOU.
TTC: What keeps you going when you really want to stop?
Suzanne: Seeing the Boston finish line, hearing the crowd, sensing the victory. I know I can not get there by not training hard. It’s not going to come to me, I am going to RUN to it.
TTC: Tell us about one of your best runs ever.
Suzanne: This would be a race called Laughing at My Nightmare, which is for a great cause of helping the quality of life to people who have muscular dystrophy in the City of Bethlehem, PA. It was there where I had my best 5k finish of 2nd overall female, and received my first ever (bigger than life) running trophy. To hear your name called, to experience the applause of a crowd, whether its three people or two hundred gives you a sense of achievement. You know your hard work, dedication, and discipline is paying off.