Your past does not determine your future – be fearless! Our third ambassador Kate Arnold has bravely shared her story of her struggles with addiction, to finding herself through love and running. Have a read:
My name is Kate Arnold and I am here today because of my Addictive Personality.
Most studies say that addictions in adults stem from a life of child abuse, neglect or other related issues while growing up. As for me, I unfortunately was subjected to both along with added alcoholism from both parents. My young life was filled with many counselors, divorce courts and work. Although I loathed my childhood very much all the time, I bear the scars and pain with a big heart on my sleeve now 15 years later. I often told myself that no one deserved to live this way, and if I could just have one chance to get out, I would make sure others new that they had a chance too. Although I poured myself into sports to keep away from home as much as possible, most of my young adult life I struggled with addiction – namely alcoholism, smoking, drugs and food addiction. I had many physical issues that came from allergies to foods, which back then, food allergies were not as widely accepted and diagnosed as they are now. Since food allergies were not well known, I suffered from chronic migraine syndrome, an autoimmune disease and a gastro intestinal disorder, along with 2 stomach ulcers from over the counter pain relievers after being miss-diagnosed many times. I was a mess, the past of my former fat self still haunts me from time to time via friends and family members who simply cannot accept change, as well as the legal system that cannot seem to forgive and forget.
After the death of both of my parents due to alcohol related issues at a young age, the dramatic life change spurned a new life course for me and I started to become stronger and smarter regarding health. I met my husband, created a relationship with God and replaced my bad addictions with much healthier ones. I have worked very hard mentally and physically to pull myself out of destruction, but it hasn’t been without the help of all my friends, close family and of course God, that walked with me through the journey – they believed in me and told me I could believe in myself.
I fell deeply in love with the sport of running and nutrition; they quickly became the newest addictions. I ran all the time- I often cannot sleep if I haven’t run or climbed a mountain, as if I need to feel it – even just a little to get through the day. It has been a blessing and a curse, and I say a curse very lightly… As the only plague it has brought me is the inability to sleep or sit still to enjoy a cup of coffee. I need to be moving to feel sane and complete; everyday becomes a challenge to exhaust myself to sleep. I say it is a blessing for many reasons, the friends and strong women I have met while running, in the mountains and on pavement have been pivotal in the changing of my life course.
I recently was encouraged by many influential people in my life to compete in my first Ironman and soon I will finish my first (of many I’m sure) ultra- marathon. I have learned that goals are achievable, no matter how crazy they seem, if you want it – you can have it, but you have to work for it, have lots of support- and have a great coach. You cannot achieve your dreams without the help of others, and it takes humility and strength to ask for it. I have a picture frame in my house that holds somewhere up to 40 race bibs and a few medals hanging next to it to remind me that I am capable of anything I put my mind to. Some people may think the picture frame is silly, but I have learned its okay to be yourself and do what makes you feel good and no one can decide your happiness for you.
Anyone who truly knows me will tell you that I am grateful for every moment that I am blessed to be alive for. I am grateful for every step that kept me further away from destruction, I was saved and I will never take that for granted. Running has given me freedom and I want to share that feeling with others. My husband and I worked with our boss and her company to start a local run in our community that meets every Monday to run and walk together- everyone, of all shapes and sizes has been coming to run/walk with us for over a year and a half. The Happy Run we call it, has changed people’s lives- including ours. We have been fortunate to start a snowshoe race series through the company we work for (Active Soles Performance Footwear) as well as a triathlon and we have been given the opportunity to work with many organizations to sponsor & volunteer at their running events.
Health is the answer; you don’t have to be a runner to improve your life- you just need to make better choices to find the healthier version of yourself. What seems impossible is one less scoop of ice cream away – small changes will lead to big rewards and you just have to keep fighting. I am far from perfect, but I will keep running towards perfection and my goals; and I will try and bring as many people along on the journey as possible.