Rachael Lindamer, MS, CCC-SLP
Running. One foot in front of the other. It's a basic concept that can be difficult at first. I got into running after graduate school when I needed a goal. As a speech-language pathologist, I'm accustomed to setting goals and seeking accomplishment. After high school, the question wasn't, "Are you going to college?" it was, "Where are you going to college?" After college, the question wasn't, "Will you pursue graduate school?" but rather, "What graduate schools have you applied to?"
So there I was, finally, a clinical fellow with a great job but suddenly no big new goals to pursue. Sure, there were professional goals—learn to write an individualized education program, be proactive in my job and perform well—but those seemed a bit anticlimactic. I needed something big to do. I needed to push my comfort zone.
So I joined a gym. I hated that gym. Then, I joined another gym I liked much better. People were friendly and just wanted to work out. Then a wedding in 2009 pushed me to the next level. The bride and groom invited guests to run the Peachtree Road Race 10K in Atlanta the day before the wedding. My first thought was that they were insane. My second thought was that I couldn't be the only one who doesn't run. I started training in January 2009.
In March, I ran my first 5K; in July, I ran every step of the Peachtree 10K and it felt good! By then I had met other running friends and really liked connecting with them. They encouraged me to enter the Baltimore Running Festival half-marathon in 2009. That first year, I ran with the goal of finishing without fainting, puking or dying, which I achieved. The next year, in 2010, I missed my chance to register as an individual runner, but some of the charity teams still had spots. I looked through the listing of charity teams until I found one that I felt connected to. Enter Sadie's Gift, which was raising funds for the Johns Hopkins pediatric intensive care unit. I had been working with several clients who were born prematurely, and I was often amazed combing through their case histories. These kids were stubborn, and it was that character trait that made them survivors.
Yes, this was my charity. I am connected to Sadie's Gift on a personal and professional level. I continued to run with Sadie's Gift in 2011 and 2012, both times the half-marathon distance, each time one foot in front of the other. Add in friends and charity, and I have mastered my goal to become a runner.