The title of the book I wrote says everything: “Knocked Down by Life – Lifted Up by Faith – Labeled a Statistic – My Road to Success.”
I’ve run a half-marathon in all 50 state and all seven continents. And you might say I did everything on my own. Oh, and while I was doing this I owned and operated my own business as a nurse practitioner. But I know I had help from the only thing that matters—God. I have always been a woman of faith, only sometimes I didn’t know it. You asked me how I balance my life with faith. I don’t. I’ve come to realize you either have faith or you don’t. It’s that simple and that difficult.
When I started running in all these races, it made me appreciate so many small things and to be happy. I learned to embrace what I thought was loneliness and to appreciate my time alone. Running has helped me meet all different kinds of people. I look at people differently now. I see how everyone struggles.
When I was in South Dakota, I thought I was in a Third World country. When I was in Montana, it felt like I was the only Black person in the state. On some of my runs, in some states, there were no paved roads and I could not believe that this was the United States. In one state, I saw this little girl, she had to have been less than 2 years old, who looked at me like I was from another world. Clearly, she had never seen a Black woman.
People ask me how I am able to take the time off to run all over the world. I answer, “That’s what happens when you have seniority!” It has been a lot of work, and financially it has not been easy. Sometimes I carry my own food with me so I cut down on the expense of having to eat in restaurants. I was often tired and overwhelmed.
The title of my book has become my philosophy and carries me through every day of my life. It’s not that I don’t feel the stress anymore. When I was racing in Montana, I was particularly worried about all the bills piling up at home. I still have no backup to help me. Always it’s my faith that carries me through. Every single day of my life is a leap of faith.