by. Rebecca Pickrel
Portland, OR

Rebecca committed to running only 4 years ago and is currently training for the Whidbey Island Half Marathon in April. She prefers racing half marathons and her pre-race meal is toast with peanut butter and banana slices.

Falling into love is the best experience of your life; falling out of love is devastating, but if we can make it through and reflect, there is always something to be learned. Love is more than feelings and chocolate and candy and flowers and holding hands, although those things are really, really nice. It is a commitment. When I truly committed to running, I was just coming out of a really difficult season in my life. We had recently celebrated our first anniversary of marriage, a commitment that was going well, we were happy and so in love. Yet, in the same stroke, I had completely lost who I had been created to be.

It wasn’t our marriage that had pushed me to an arid place; it was life. We returned home to Portland, Oregon in the winter of 2009 and I was emotionally unrecognizable to my friends and family. My mother would, lovingly, laugh at me as I was weeping because she had told me I put the dishes away incorrectly. I was broken.

I was born with an overflowing amount of passion and energy. I do not know how to give less than 100%. I was not a natural born runner but had become a runner through years of hard work. But I was broken. I had fallen out of love with myself, with running, and with my world.

In the spring of 2010 one of my best friends from college asked if I would like to start training with her for a half-marathon. I had been running some and thought, maybe this would help pull me out of my emotional nest. I signed up for the race and, in usual Beeks-fashion, I researched everything I could about running. I became an expert on hydration, pacing, race wear, and foam rolling. Everything I did focused on running, I was obsessed. I was falling in love {again}.


What was this transformation? What was this healing? You see, when I began to run, I began to feel release, I began to feel freedom. I began to shed the unrecognizable skin I had allowed life to force upon me. For the moments I was running it was just my mind versus my body and I knew if I could keep a renewed mind, I would win.  I never knew how emotionally healing physical fitness could be until I began running long distances.


Race day came and went; I performed well. I was proud of my journey and my rediscovered love for self and running. Every race that I compete in and every early morning training route is full of love. Oh no, don’t get the wrong idea, this doesn’t mean that I go running off every morning at 5 a.m. for a 10k in under 40 minutes! Some days when I run, I cry. Some days when I run, I focus. Some days when I run, I laugh. Some days when I run, I just run.


Running taught me that I am tough and that when life pushes you around, you can push back. See, you can’t make someone love you. Love isn’t a potion, it takes hard work, commitment; if you wish to be loved you must love first. 

February 20, 2014 — Atsuko Tamara

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