Leah Ramirez is busy. She is busy raising her seven children. She is busy working at INOVA Alexandria. She is also busy training for her second Marine Corps Marathon.
Leah began running after the birth of her sixth child when she decided she wanted to make a change in her life. Four years ago she was 60 pounds over weight and committed to a couch to 5k program. She ran three times a week and found it was doable. From there she just kept running and building her mileage with her sights set on a marathon. While marathon training she got pregnant with her seventh child and running had to take a backseat to another very important part of her life. Last year she ran a 50k and used MCM as a training run along the way.
This year Leah committed to raise money and train with RunningBrooke as she gears up for the upcoming Marine Corps Marathon. Leah finds Brooke’s message very empowering. Since Leah works in Alexandria she feels it is kind of a home away from home for her and it made complete sense to her to commit to raising money for children in the Alexandria community. Thus far fundraising has proved to be a lot less daunting than she initially thought. She Leah set up her fundraising page and by just asking her friends and family she has easily met her fundraising goal. She found friends and family who are Marines are particularly supportive of her goal to cross the finish line at Iwo Jima.
With her life being very full she has found a recipe for training that works for her. On the weekends she meets her running partner early at Burke Lake Park where they run loops around the lake. They get going early, before anyone in their houses are awake and do a lap in the dark with their headlamps on. Since they are running laps, they use their car as an aid station to drop off and pick up items as needed as they run.
Leah has learned she can deal with the pain of the 20th mile of a marathon and she can deal with whatever else comes up in her daily life. The life lessons she has learned on the trails and while racing have easily translated into her life. “It seems like people just start running. They start with a 5k, then a 10k, and you can run even father than a marathon, that’s just crazy. Running changed my own thinking of what I am capable of,” Leah explains. She found there are so many mental aspects of training. “It doesn’t matter”, is a big lesson I have learned from training and that simple phrase has changed my life,” Leah said. This small phrase has caused Leah to change her own thinking; pain, rain, being tired are just not reasons to stop. She has taken this mental strength into her life. She knows she can just do what she needs to do and every run is pretty, or easy, and it doesn’t matter. Every step builds towards a goal, and in Leah’s case this goal is finishing this years Marine Corps Marathon.