Back in January, I sent this email about our plan to resurrect ROAD iD’s tagline: It’s Who I Am.
In that email, I shared the background and true meaning of “It’s Who I Am” - then asked you to share with me what your ROAD iD means to YOU. I expected a few replies. I wasn’t prepared for the flood of emails that we would receive.
I certainly wasn’t prepared for Christina’s email:
Running Saved My Spirit
I'm going to admit that I don't usually read all the way to the bottom of emails, but this one caught my eye. I truly enjoyed reading this email; I liked learning about how RoadID started and the background behind the "It's Who I Am" tagline. This email made me sit and think for a minute about "Who I Am" and in this crazy busy life, we all need time to just take a minute and reflect. I'd like to share my story:
I got my first RoadID wrist band (the basic "Stretch" band) about 5 years ago. My first husband was killed in a car accident around that same time. Before Mike (my husband) died, I had been a casual runner. When I ran, I would do maybe a 5k at most. I liked running, but I didn't think I was good at it. I had to use music to get me through those few miles.
About 2 weeks after Mike died, my best friend called me. She said she was training for a marathon and that I should do it with her. The marathon was 2 months away. I thought about it for a minute and then I agreed. My heart was hurting so badly and I was in such a dark place. I never thought I would be a 27 year old widow and yet there I was. I figured if I trained for a marathon; maybe the foot pains and the knee pains and the physical aches and soreness would distract me from my broken heart.
So, I bought a new pair of shoes and in my first training run after agreeing to run the marathon, I went 6 miles. I doubled the most I had ever run at one time! It was exhilarating to be moving and running; I felt like I was running away from everything that hurt. I didn't bring my phone and I didn't listen to music. I let my thoughts and feelings just flow while I ran. The next day, I ran again. And again, I felt something other than the darkness and grief that had been taking over.
My mom worried that I was out running without my phone. I told her I didn't want it; I just wanted to run alone with my thoughts. She found RoadID and bought me my Stretch band. It was our compromise. I could run freely and she knew that I had some kind of ID on me.
I now look back at the photos of me and my best friend on our marathon day; it was the first time since Mike died that I actually recognized my smile. I like to think that running saved my life, but that sounds super cliche even typing it. I think I'll say that running saved my spirit.
Now, 5 years have gone by. I've completed 3 marathons (Run for the Ranch in Dec. 2017, Grandma's in June 2018, & Marine Corps in October 2019), 3 half-Ironmans (Augusta 70.3 in September 2018, Gulf Coast 70.3 in May 2019, & Texas 70.3 in April 2022), and 1 full Ironman (IronmanAlaska in August 2022).
My RoadID Stretch band has been on my wrist for everything. Before he died, Mike had a saying: #RockThePlanet. To him, it meant making a difference every day; even something as simple as brightening someone's day with a conversation or a smile. Every one of my RoadID faceplates ends with #RockThePlanet. Whenever I'm tired or sore or feel like I can't finish my run or my bike, I read #RockThePlanet and I remember all the good things about Mike and how much he changed my life.
What does my RoadID say about me?: " 'You're going to be happy,' said life, 'but first I'll make you strong.' "
Why do I wear my RoadID?: "There is nothing stronger than a broken woman who has rebuilt herself." (Hannah Gadsby)
Thank you for reading my story and thank you for opening the door for me to reflect on this journey.
If you’re wiping tears from your eyes, you’re not alone.I had to pause during this sentence to grab a tissue.
To Christina - everyone reading this email thanks your courage and for sharing your story.
To everyone that sent me an email - Your thoughts, encouragement, and the time you took to share mean more to us than you know. Thank you!
If you haven’t yet reflected on what “It’s Who I Am” means to you, please pause for a moment (right now) and consider it. WHO are you? What are the things you love to do that reflect who you are? And, WHO do you want to be? Is there a gap between those two people? If so, what are you going to do about it?
After you reflect, please send me an email at email@example.com and let me know. What does “It’s Who I Am” mean to you? I can’t wait to hear your story.
It’s Who I Am,