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My Most Important Mile: Denise Collins

Denise and her son, Parker, after a 5K in 2011.
Denise and her son, Parker, after a 5K in 2011.

My most important mile ran has to be the very first one I ever ran.

I became a runner back in February 2010. I had been battling post-partum-turned-real-depression and medicine was not working. I had so much love and support from my husband (and kids), but I never felt so alone. A friend recommended that I try running. I was not a runner.

I had zero interest. At the same time, I also had nothing else to lose.

I laced up late one evening in my black Converse. As my feet struck the pavement, something inside of me ignited. Everything that was weighing me down—and I mean everything—came out as my feet smashed the road. I was about 50 pounds overweight from 2 pregnancies, so I was quite a sight. I stopped every few feet to catch my breath, then resume running again.

I remember vividly how alive I felt when I returned home. It was the first glimpse of happiness that I needed.  My husband told me to go get fitted for proper shoes and get some "runner clothes." (Which is still to this day one of my favorite things to shop for.)

At times I'll look back at how much running changed me over the last 3 years: all for the better. Running makes me happy.

I now have a new appreciation  for life.....and fellow runners.

17 responses to “My Most Important Mile: Denise Collins

  1. I love your story. From someone who has battled depression in varying degrees, I can truly appreciate it. I have been sidelined from an injury for about 4 weeks now and I can feel the difference not just physically, but emotionally and mentally as well. I have always said I run way more for the emotional/mental benefits than the physical ones. Thanks for sharing. You are not alone.

  2. Denise, thanks for sharing, so awesome! I am still amazed how inspiring the running community is, like nothing else. Wishing you lots of happy miles.

  3. My son, saw the photo of us and tried to get on to thank each of you that left a comment! 🙂 A big thanks from the both of us!

  4. Oh, Denise, how much I loved reading your most important mile. It brought tears to my eyes–maybe because I have some things in common. Best wishes to you as you continue your running journey!

  5. Oh man, I can relate to every word! Thank you so much for sharing. Awesome inspiration for this Tuesday morning, thank you for sharing!

    Adorable picture. Sometimes a picture says it all- you look so happy!

  6. I can totally relate! Thanks so much for the inspiration!

    My son (who is 16 with special needs) and I began running with a running store (No Boundaries program – 5K) 5 months ago. I am 57 (yes!), have never been a runner till now. My son made the high school track team in the mile (big school with 4300 students, he a special day student) and I am just loving running too. I am running another 5K soon. As they say in our running group “Running changes everything”- feeling healthier and happy is an incredible benefit!

  7. Thank you, Denise, for sharing why you run. My postpartum depression responded to medication and counseling, but I still struggle with anxiety. Running helps me feel sane.

  8. It still amazes me how much running helps you mentally. Non-runners don’t understand that at all. I started running to relieve stress and will never go back.

    Love your story and the picture is so darn cute!

  9. What an inspiration! You are FAR from 50 lbs overweight now! I love how running can beat depression and wish doctors would start prescribing RUNNING instead of meds! Congratulations on turning things around!!

  10. I started running as a stress relief as a young widow and haven’t stopped!! So happy to hear these great success stories!! I try to tell people how much it helps and so nice to hear others!

    Thank you for sharing!!!
    Judy

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