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The Most Important Mile of My Life: Leah Heier

My son Josiah and I just after I finished my first marathon, two years after his birth.
My son Josiah and I just after I finished my first marathon, two years after his birth.

I began running in March 2009 to lose weight and quit smoking. On September 1, 2010, weeks before my third marathon, I was surprised to find out I was pregnant. My doctor advised against my marathon due to lack of training and fear of dehydration, and I didn’t contest. I quit running that day, stopped watching what I ate, and gained 90 pounds.

I spent my pregnancy in a depression induced by verbal abuse from the father and knowing I was a single mother. I was 25 and starting a career using my college education, but I was living in my parent’s basement.

The most important mile of my life took place in early July 2011, when my son was 8 weeks old. It was the slowest I had ever run, but I pushed through and it reminded me why I loved running--to get back in shape and not let anything stop me.

I bought a house in March 2011, when my son was 10 months, and I put the treadmill in the living room so I wouldn’t have any excuses. Running is a way to prove my strength and remember that I am important, too. I did a 5-mile race when my son was 4 ½ months, and I have since completed eight half-marathons and two full marathons, two Tough Mudders, and many other races. I am training for my first Half Ironman in June 2014, a month after my son’s 3rd birthday.

I am technically a single mother, but I have a supportive boyfriend. My family is amazing and brings my son to almost all of the races. It is important for me to show him that running is important for our health as well as mental strength. We can do anything as long as we put our mind to it.

What was (or will be) the most important mile of your life? We want to know.

We’ve made this an ongoing feature on the website. 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!

 

5 responses to “The Most Important Mile of My Life: Leah Heier

  1. Thanks! I hope your race went well on Sunday! It was a beautiful day. I only did the Half this year but wow, those Full medals were amazing and I am totally jealous!

  2. Good job Leah! You are awesome!!! 🙂 Good Luck on your Iron Man. I recognize that medal…I’m doing Green Bay this weekend!

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