I remember the first time I decided to "go for a run." I had just moved to New York City full-time, and I lived about half a mile from the only gym at which I could afford a membership. I've always been a type-A kind of lady, to whom efficiency in my actions was key. Couldn't I actually cut down on the time I spent at the gym, but running faster toward it? Good intentions, questionable execution. I remember having to stop a whopping 0.2 miles in, just to catch my breath. "People do this for fun?!" my brain screamed. Funny how the universe works sometimes, eh? Just five years later, I have completed 13 half-marathons, 1 full marathon, and myriad other races of shorter distances. I've become known as "oh, yeah, the runner!" among my professional community, and each and every time I meet friends for a coffee or a cocktail, the icebreaker is always, "So, how many miles have you completed today?" Running has become an inextricable part of not only my life, but of my personality and psyche. You see, I grew up in a community that favoured the beautiful, championed propriety for young women, and did a great job at convincing me that as a young girl, there was a very good chance that I would not be good enough. I fell in love with competitive cheerleading and theatre--both activities that placed a huge amount of import upon physical appearance, and I eventually allowed a very influential coach to convince me that I would never be enough. Never pretty enough, never thin enough, never talented enough to be worthy of praise. It was essentially the first day of what became an epic, decade-long battle with a life-threatening eating disorders, clinical depression, and crippling anxiety. It was the day I decided to fight against myself. The day I took up running was the day I decided to fight FOR myself. It was the first day in a years-long rediscovery of self-love. I slowly let myself replace "skinny" with "strong," "sadness" with "stillness," "selfish" with "passionate." To be frank, running gave me what I had forgotten to give myself: peace in my identity as a powerful woman. Girls on the Run is an organization that champions each girl in its program to develop into that powerful, strong woman. It is an organization not only about developing physical fitness and healthy lifestyle habits among young girls during what is sometimes their most impressionable years, but one that ultimately focuses on developing confidence, courage, and strength for what are surely the badass lady leaders of tomorrow. I am passionate about, and dedicated to, spreading that message, and I hope you will join me! My goal of $2500 by November 5th is an aggressive one, but I believe we can cross the finish line together. Every dollar helps!