Disclosure: This blog post is sponsored by adidas, written in full authenticity by me. I was asked to partner with adidas and provided compensation to purchase the fitness apparel I’m wearing and photographed for this article.
My running story is complex mostly because I started running because I hated it so much. It seemed like such an easy exercise for most people and I never understood why it was so difficult for me. I was determined to become a runner and by the time I was out of college, I had become one.
I ran and ran and ran until one day I decided I was fit enough to run a marathon. I consulted my uncle who was the only other runner in my family. He gave me lots of advice and we began to train together here and there. We both lived in New York City so we’d jog down the West Side Highway Hudson River Run Path. It wasn’t nearly what it is today, but it was still a beautiful pathway and I’ll never forget those training runs.
My uncle Larry was a member of the HOHA’s (Hoboken Harriers Running Club). He was a lifelong runner and a very athletic guy. I was inspired by his history of running and I would be lying if I said he wasn’t a major influence in my love for the sport.
The day of my first marathon, my uncle was there to support me. He kept track of my split times and let me know that for my first big race, I had done a stellar job. I don’t like sad stories (I’m a crier to say the least) so I’m just going to do my best to type this without choking up. My uncle (out of nowhere) got esophageal cancer and become very sick. The decline of his health happened so fast that I could barely process it.
I remember my aunt telling me, “We’re going to call you today because your Uncle Larry wants to talk to you…he’s feeling OK today.” When I got his call, I tried my best without getting emotional to tell him that I would be running the New York Marathon again…but this time in his honor to support his fight against cancer. I regret that phone call because I wish I had let my emotions flow but I was just trying so hard to keep it together and not show my sadness.
My uncle died before he could see me cross the finish line. I raised thousands of dollars for my run in his name and lets the tears fall as I flew past each 5-mile marker the day of the race. I ran 26.2 miles for him that day. I even felt him enter my body at times, borrowing my legs for one last run. He deserved it.
Before he died, my uncle, whose name is Laurence Graham, published a book called Hohas In Love. It’s a love story within a love story. He loved running and at the last hour of his life, he told my aunt (in delirium) that they had made it to a special place and that he would take her running. Ok, I’m full on crying right now as I write this…ugh, this is so hard. I will never get over how romantic it was that as he was dying he could see himself doing what he loved most with the person he cherished most.
I think about my uncle whenever I run. Especially the day we ran with one of my puggles. He kept saying, “He’s quite a runner!” So I decided to keep running in our family. I trained my 2 puggles to run with me and they have for years been running dogs. At 10 and 11 years old, they are in immaculate running shape.
That’s my dog Leroy running with me. He’s so happy when he’s flying. I’m filled with joy just witnessing how much it fulfills him. I know he’s just a dog…but he’s my family and that’s what families do—share things together!
Sharing the sport of running with my uncle definitely made me a stronger athlete. I think sharing it with my dogs helps prolong their lives and strengthen our bond. So the spirit of running lives on in my family, and I plan to tap many more familial runners because I truly believe once you give it a fair shot, running is one of the most gratifying workouts you can do.
All the fitness fashion you see throughout this blog post I purchased from adidas.com. I’m really picky about running gear as I like to wear as little as possible when I run.
My adidas sports bra is super light and strappy, the way I like it. I don’t like sports bras that are too tight around the chest or come up too high around my neck because the compression actually causes me soreness post-run. This medium support bra keeps the girls locked in but my upper body loose enough for a range of movement.
I absolutely love the run shorts that adidas makes and have been wearing all the different styles they come out with for years. The cut is wonderful, they fabric is breathable and non-chafing and I adore the prints they come in.
And then these shoes! They’re SICK! In the summer, I’m not big on socks and I’m always on the hunt for a good sockless shoe that I can train in for short to medium distance runs. This shoe is perfect because it has ample support, flexibility throughout the mesh shell and great ventilation from all angles.
The creamy color-way also really appeals to my personal style and goes with both pairs of shorts I got. Yes, they’ll probably get a little dirty but I’m OK with that. I just believe that when you’re running in hot weather it’s ideal to wear light colored shoes and keep your feet as cool as possible.
I hope you enjoyed my running story. What’s yours? Tell me in the comments below.
XO, Bianca Jade