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My Most Important Mile: Danielle Perfetti

"Marathon Mom. I love the sound of that."
"Marathon Mom. I love the sound of that."

This Thanksgiving week, we are going to run a series of Most Important Miles to celebrate the fact that we are so grateful for your stories, our collective miles that send strength and love into the world, the community that brings us together, and the simple ability to run. Thank you, thank you.

When I ran the 2010 Pittsburgh Marathon, it changed my life. Up until that point, I couldn’t imagine that running could ever give me any more.  But finishing 26.2 miles in my hometown was the ultimate experience. I walked—okay, hobbled—away that day with a belief in myself that I had never experienced.

I felt like a strong, independent, unstoppable woman.

Shortly after my Marathon, my husband and I started trying to have a family. We had no clue about the struggles we would encounter. Within months of my greatest mental and physical accomplishment, I became angry and disappointed by what my body couldn’t do. How could I conquer 26.2 grueling miles but not be able to get pregnant?  After rounds of fertility drugs and months of disappointment, I was a defeated woman.

Thinking that since I wasn’t pregnant I could run it, I signed up for the 2011 Pittsburgh Marathon. In a cruel twist the fertility treatments kept me away that year.  Running took a backseat to the all-consuming struggle to have a family.

A glorious roadblock kept me from the 2012 race!  I was finally pregnant with my daughter and I vowed that the 2013 race would be my “homecoming.” Marathon training as a new mom offered a host of new challenges. That said, building up mileage was easier than trying to rebuild a shattered confidence and a lost sense of self.

On May 5th. 2013 I ran the most important miles in my life. The first mile reawakened the strong, determined woman that was lost through infertility.  The last mile—a grueling one—reminded me that sometimes the hardest “miles” in life are the most rewarding.

After years of waiting, two worlds united that day. Marathons and motherhood.

Marathon Mom.  I love the sound of that.

What was (or will be) the most important mile? Share it with us! Best way to submit is to email us your story with a picture: runmother {at} gmail {dot} com with “Most Important Mile” in the subject line. Please try to keep your mile stories under 300 words. Thank you!

7 responses to “My Most Important Mile: Danielle Perfetti

  1. Thank you for sharing your story! My infertility support was very similar to yours, and it was so hard to have to miss out on running while going through the stress of treatments. My first races back after having my daughter brought many of the same emotions you described. Congratulations!

  2. Congratulations!!! I have been down that infertility road and know how much the struggles can weigh you down both physically and emotionally. Way to go on ALL of your successes!!!

  3. Congrats on your beautiful daughter. I am from Pittsburgh and it is by far my favorite marathon. We are so lucky to have such a beautiful city for running!

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