"Running is the greatest metaphor for life, because you get out of it what you put into it." - Oprah Winfrey



Marissa Kingham
Running Journey

When the moon is closest to earth, a super moon occurs, causing the tide to rise higher than usual. This past September, the coastal neighborhoods of Delray Beach experienced flooding caused by the super moon. Driveways and lawns sat under brackish water for days and residents were stranded.

I was about 3 miles into my Saturday morning run when the effects of the super moon hit me. Trying to avoid a sidewalk puddle, I made the mistake of putting my right foot onto the lawn of one of the homes along A1A. As soon as my foot completely sunk into the grass and hidden puddle, I groaned. I cursed. I was sidelined.

I settled down on the driveway and removed my soaked footwear. Could I make it back barefoot? Should I call my husband for a ride? Maybe an Uber would be good in this situation. With my sock and sneaker removed and wrung out, I was able to focus. I had committed to running 8 miles that morning with my running partner and friend, Christine. I wasn’t about to let some lunar eclipse/super moon/tidal anomaly stop me. I put my wet sock and sneaker back on my wrinkled foot and took off, heading south to complete the last mile before turning around and running 4 more.

I’m a runner.

I wasn’t always a runner. I was a smoker, and a junk food eater, and a poor decision maker. I started running in 2008 after I convinced myself that if I could run one mile, I would sign up for a half marathon. It took a long time to finally run that first mile, but once I did, I was hooked.

And then my back got hurt. I wasn’t sure if it was the running or the effects of a herniated disc I suffered after a car accident in 1991. Either way, I was advised to stop running, so I did. Instead, I took spin classes, used an elliptical machine, and tried yoga. But they were not what I wanted and eventually, I gave up on exercise.

In November of 2013, I tried another gym that required treadmill work as part of the class. I found that I was able to run on the treadmill without hurting my back. Each class had me finding my groove and running faster and farther. It was amazing to be able to run again.

I participated in my first group run at the Delray Beach Running Company in March of this year. I set out to run 3 miles, slowly, with frequent walking intervals. We left the store at 6:00am on a Saturday and I ran east on Atlantic Ave., over the intracoastal, and headed south on A1A. When I hit Casuarina, I turned around and headed back. I have lived in South Florida my entire life and had always wanted to be an early bird, to see the beach before the rest of the world woke up, to enjoy Atlantic Ave. before the town woke up. Like being a part of a really big secret, my Saturday morning felt purposeful.

It took me weeks to finally run far enough to find the Running Company’s aid station. A few more weeks to hit the 5 mile mark. When I hit the Highland Beach sign (6 miles) with Christine and our other running buddy, Erika, we stopped to take a photo. It was momentous…we’d hit another city.

Since that first group run at DBRC, I have been a regular. I rarely miss a Saturday run; I’m up to 9 miles. I also run on Tuesday mornings (3-4 miles) and Thursday nights (4-6 miles). My husband and two sons (ages 9 and 12) join in for the Thursday night and Saturday morning runs. They also love the camaraderie and refreshments.

The support I receive from Annie and Meagan and the rest of the staff has enabled me to become my best me. The work that they do to build friendships, teammates, and athletes has benefited me more than I could have ever imagined. I whole heartedly believe that my back has been in good shape for running because of the advice I receive about shoes. With each step forward, regardless of how badly my feet may be hurting that day, I feel better. As the miles progress, my head clears. With each run, I am surprised at how much better I feel about myself as I go. It’s as if this concept of a “runner’s high” is freshly discovered several times a week.

I am a runner.

I compare blisters and chafing with my friends (and sometimes strangers) at the store. I can talk pacing, intervals, nutrition, hydration, and even digestion with the best of them.

A few weeks ago, Christine and I went to cheer on Erika as she completed her first half marathon. That night, five of us agreed to run the Ft. Lauderdale A1A Half Marathon in February. We are a community. We are runners.

I was asleep as the super moon and lunar eclipse awed night enthusiasts around the world, because Saturday morning runs start at 6:00am and I have to get 8 hours of sleep. I may have missed seeing the night sky, but I experienced the super moon and lunar eclipse at dusk, with my foot submerged in an oceanfront lawn … as a runner!



Valencia Spells Anderson

Although dropping nearly 70 pounds...

Valencia (latest social media post):

What will January 2017 look like?! #SlowAndSteady #WorkInProgress #DBRC

"I keep focusing on the scale and how my weight either stays steady or fluctuates and hasn't decreased since August 2015.

I just looked at my Withings account and had to laugh. My weight is the same in both of these pics-lol-my focus has completely shifted now!

Getting stronger and being lean is my goal ... forget that scale!"