You have Successfully Subscribed!


Most Important Mile: Katye Riselli

If you ever needed a reminder of how much joy running can bring to your life, just look at Kayte's pic.
If you ever needed a reminder of how much joy running can bring to your life, just look at Katye's pic.

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.

Leaves crunched under my feet as I jogged hesitantly from the parking lot to the paved running trail. It was a brilliant Virginia fall, and although some trees still boasted vibrant red-orange leaves, many had yellowed and more than a few had fallen. Judging from the number of brown leaves lining the path, winter was closer than summer—and the realization surprised me.

Summer had slipped by, ending quietly as I grieved.  The shock of the death of Richard, my fiance who was killed two months before our wedding when a tree he was helping cut down fell on him, stopped me in my tracks.

As the immediate questions of how to un-plan a wedding were answered, I’d spent the remainder of the summer in a blur of busy nothing-ness. One day at a time, weeks had become three months, and as I picked up my pace, I realized that I’d reached a milestone.

This was my first run since June.  I hadn’t been able to even consider running – I kept thinking about how running was his thing – he ran in college, he ran marathons, ultramarathons, he proposed after the JFK50. And whenever that small voice reminded me that I had been a runner for years before we began dating, I couldn’t get past the memory of our last run together. So my running shoes had lain buried in my closet.

I don’t remember why I finally laced my shoes up that night, but I remember the fog of grief cleared as I put one foot in front of the other.

Even as the fall leaves reminded me of the canal during the JFK50, his run, I realized I’d never be able to run in the fall without remembering this run, my run.  Somewhere along the last mile the cadence of my feet had settled into a heartbeat, and I felt alive again.  The grief was still there, but it didn’t define me anymore.  And I knew that whatever lay ahead of me, I’d run through it.


Ten years later, I'm a wife to Mark, who is in Air Force, and a mom to two daughters. I’ve run through more than I ever imagined on that fall day including two pregnancies, four military moves, and a deployment. I’ve taken out my grief, loneliness, anger, and fear on the road in nearly a dozen states.  I’ve celebrated love and rejoiced over answered prayers while running on four continents. More than one treadmill has kept me from over-thinking, over-analyzing, or worrying in circles.

Last week as I put on my shoes to run, the tears I’d (mostly) held in check for two days nearly overwhelmed me.  I purposefully double-knotted the laces to keep from taking my shoes off, throwing them in the closet, and crawling into bed.  As I left my house, “what if” scenarios plagued my thoughts and I fought to tamp down my overactive imagination.

Slowly the cadence of my feet quieted my mind.  Don’t think.  Just run.  Don’t borrow tomorrow’s trouble today.  Pray.  Believe.  Remember. As I turned at the first mile, I saw leaves on the ground and realized fall has arrived in Missouri. It’s less vibrant than Virginia so it sneaks up on you.

And as I considered the handful of brown leaves beginning to line the road, I remembered my run ten years ago and breathed deeply.  Life is full of ups and downs, twists and turns, and this latest challenge was no different.  I could run through this too: one foot in front of the other, one day at a time.

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!

12 responses to “Most Important Mile: Katye Riselli

  1. Oh my goodness……I am currently grieving the loss of my mother right now, and it’s been a particularly tough week. This post shows me that it will get better, eventually. Thank you for the hope!

  2. You are an inspiration. Words can not express how much the AMR tribe has helped me to be me, realize we all have our own struggles that we can overcome and that we are not alone when it feels like everyone else has a storybook life and that we can accomplish amazing things. THANK YOU!

  3. Thank you! Running has been my lifeline since my husband died two years ago. Now, running lets me pound out all the stress that comes with single parenting seven (wonderful) children. So grateful you shared. Have a Happy Thanksgiving!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.


*Exclusions Apply

Want some mother runner insipiration with special content and deals? 

You will receive an email within the next 24 hours with your discount code!