I came across Laura recently through her blog, Presently Running. I discovered that she was about to move to Ireland with her family, and I asked if she’d do a series of guest posts on her transition to a new culture and a new running community, her build up to the Dublin Marathon, as well as some insights into her running life. Below is an introduction to Laura – if there is anything specific you’d like to ask her, or you’d like to welcome her, let us know in the comments – take it away Laura!
My name is Laura and I love to run. I began running as a way to keep active after my collegiate tennis career ended in 1998. Although I played many sports throughout my childhood, I was never a “runner”. But after college, I needed something to fill the void I felt in my life without the structure of competitive tennis training. I tried to find something that I could do on my own while I was finishing up school and running seemed like a good option. So, I signed up for the 1999 Chicago Marathon. Not only was this my first marathon, it was also my first running race of any kind! Since then, I have completed more than a dozen marathons and countless half marathons. Running is now an integral part of my daily life.
My husband is a native of Co. Dublin, but moved the United States to pursue tennis in 1997. We both competed for the same college, which is how we met. For the last 13 years, he was a collegiate tennis coach and I was a primary school teacher. We lived in Chicago for a few years before moving to Norman, Oklahoma where we have lived for the last 8 years. We have two amazing boys, 7 and 10, who are absolutely obsessed with soccer (er…football…). My sports loving family of four began living a vegan lifestyle in May 2015. We are passionate about constantly challenging ourselves in all areas of life and living life to its fullest potential.
I am not perfect and have certainly faced many personal challenges over the last several years, the greatest being my divorce and eventual reconciliation with my husband. But immense growth is often a result of immense pain. While I don’t dwell on the past, I believe it is essential to remember the lessons we learned from it so we don’t repeat those mistakes in the future. Instead of living in fear of past mistakes or future “what ifs”, I live my life with great intentionality in the present, as best as I can.
With that mindset, my husband and I decided it was time for a big change. We worked extremely hard to rebuild our life to a comfortable place with well-paying jobs, a beautiful home, two cars and a pretty delightful lifestyle. We were not unhappy in Norman by any means. In fact, we were living what many would call “The American Dream.” But for us, we realized that it is not exactly what we want for ourselves, our marriage or our boys. You can read more about that decision here.
So we are moving to Ireland to start a new life. For my husband, this is moving home after 19 years. For me and my boys, we are moving to a new country with a new culture and a new way of life. To be fair, we have tremendous support from my husband’s family, which will help us greatly with this transition. But in leaving Oklahoma, we have condensed our belongings into less than 2 cubic meters and my boys are leaving the only home they have ever known.
Over the next several months, I will share my progress as I adjust to living and running in a new country. I am registered to run the Dublin Marathon where I hope to beat my PB. I will be living in Roundwood, Co. Wicklow, but commuting my boys to school in south Co. Dublin. I will also be attending UCD where I will pursue my Level 4 Personal Trainer Certification. All the while, my husband and I intend to keep our marriage strong, healthy and fun!
For 3 years, I served as the Director of the Norman Runhers, where worked to inspire women in all seasons of life to pursue their own version of health and happiness. I am also a Bibrave Pro who loves to run races, test out new running gear and stay connected to runners all around the world. In addition, I serve as an ambassador for EnergyBITS and am a member of the Oiselle Volee.
What do you think is important for me to know about the Irish running community?
Read more about me at presentlyrunning.com.