I started running in 2010, after my brother, Capt David Jp Thompson, was killed in Afghanistan. Before he left for his third tour, he told me "Sis, you need to start running." And I laughed at him because that's what big sisters do when their little brothers tell them something that was so obviously foolish.
But after he was killed...I started running. I ran my first 5k and went on to 11 other 5K's that year finishing the year with my first 5-miler.
Then the next year was more 5K's and on to my first half marathon and a Warrior Dash.
And there were more road races, trail runs, obstacle courses, triathlons and last year....my first marathon. According to my husband, my last marathon. I disappeared all summer. If I wasn't running, I was sleeping.
I use running to keep myself happy but to also to keep my brother's memory alive. I use it to run through my grief. I have had many one-sided conversations on some of those long training runs with my brother.
This year, I started crossfit. This was one of my brother's passions and he sweared it's what allowed him to get through Special Forces selection and training. There is a hero workout in his name. And this year, I did a modified version of this along with my sister-in-law and my nieces.
What started as running in my grief as kept me moving through more challenges and things I would not have tried before Jp was killed. But in my mind, I can hear him saying..."Good job Sis! Now what's next?" So I keep going.
My Dad...the one who would yell "move it, you old heifer!" sits on the side lines and shakes his head. Sometimes I pull him into my races. And my husband chases me through my races as official sherpa and paparazzi. (my friends call him Markarazzi.)
I don't win anything. But I'm there and I'm finishing. And I feel like I can do anything when I finish a race.