#whywerun - Jess Rodarte
Words & Images: Jess Rodarte
"My running journey started when I was very young. I was 5 years old when my parents signed me up for club track and field/ cross country. I have 24 years of running under my belt, I don't know a life without it. It wasn't until my early twenties that I decided I wanted to run a marathon. I ran my first marathon in 2015 and I've been hooked ever since. It has been such a life changing experience. It has introduced me to a whole new world of running and community.
I always say that running saved my life. In 2016 I was diagnosed with major anxiety and depression. Running was the one constant thing in my life when everything else was changing. It became my reason to live. Even if I was depressed all day and couldn't get out of bed, the 1 hour I was out running is when I felt alive! Committing to something helped me to keep going every single day. Despite dealing with my mental illness, I have been able to complete 5 marathons, 8 half marathons, and a few 10ks and 5ks.
The past 5 years I have been navigating my life with mental illness. When my world was falling apart, I turned to running. Running was my therapy. Unfortunately, running like most things became a bandaid I used to temporarily "fix" my problems. It quickly became an unhealthy relationship. When I finally hit my lowest point last year, I literally could not run away from my problems anymore. I had to make the choice to face my anxiety and depression head on in order to heal myself. After seven intense months of therapy and medication, I am in a much better place in my life. I have completely rebuilt myself.
Rebuilding myself has been the most difficult yet transformative period of my life. Healing is a lot like running. You have to put in the work every single day and put one foot in front of the other to keep going, even through the hardest times."
You can follow Jess on Instagram here.