It’s not what happens to you, but how you react to it that matters. ~Epictetus

A year ago today I ran my first half marathon and LOVED it.  In eighth grade I got a B in gym because I refused to run the mile for the Presidential Fitness test (I walked it happily), because I HATED running.  How did I go from someone who absolutely hated pounding the pavement to someone who can’t get through the week without a good run? 

I was very athletic growing up, I was on the swim team, rode horses (English-style, jumpers), did gymnastics, danced, and cheered.  In college I was committed to staying fit, and was a total gym rat.  However, this funny thing happened when I graduated college and moved to New York without a job…I was broke.  Like realllllly broke.  I paid my first months rent, convinced my parents to stock my fridge with Costco goods and was left with $90 and stolen internet to find a job (which I did).  With no free campus gym membership in sight I started running up to Prospect Park, doing a few crunches and pushups and running home.  It started as two one mile legs, and eventually became a continuous three miles.  I started working at a local restaurant to supplement my paltry actor’s income and the chef was a runner runner (He’s like insanely fast).  The idea of distance running sparked my interest and I worked towards building my endurance.  After a year of living in New York I was running about 15 miles a week and actually enjoying it. 

For my 2010 resolution I decided I wanted to run a race…a long one.  The longest distance I could fathom running was a half-marathon, so I signed up for the Rock N Roll Philly Half Marathon in September and started building my mileage.  I started running 20-25 miles a week and have pretty much consistently maintained that ever since.  I completed my first race in 2h10m02s and I was hooked.  Honestly, if you want to get into running, but don’t like it, sign up for a race.  You will never go back.

(I totally talked my parents into it.)

Ever the casual goal -setter I decided I wanted to try a marathon….eventually.  I decided that 2012 was the year.  I would run 26.2 miles the year I turned 26.  I’d be done with grad school, have the mental, physical and emotional capacity to handle it, and have plenty of time to prepare.  For 2011, I joined NYRR and decided to run the 9 +1(volunteer) races I’d need for automatic entry into the 2012 NYC Marathon (side note: I live a block away from the NYC marathon course and I LOVE going down to watch it every year).  I was ready.  The plan was set, my life was swimming along brilliantly and I had the mother of all marathons to look forward to when grad school was done.

Then I got dumped…by my boyfriend of three years…who I was pretty sure I was going to spend the rest of my life with.  That SUCKED.  I was pretty devastated (note the sappy and philosophical posts that dominated the middle of the summer).  I needed something to throw myself into, and fast.  When an invitation to run the Inaugural Bucks County Marathon popped into my inbox, I clicked through instinctively.  It was the first ever marathon in my home town.  It was four months away.  Before I could question what I was doing, my credit card was out and I had a receipt from  I was running a marathon.      

Wooops.  Impulsive much? 

Honestly, I’ve had my doubts about this decision, but it’s brought a lot of positivity into my life over the past few months that I desperately needed.  Marathon training forces to me fuel properly, not get rip roaring drunk, go to bed at a reasonable hour, gives me energy throughout the day, but leaves me exhausted at night so that I sleep like a baby.  On some level, I’m grateful for the heartbreak because it’s given me the opportunity to run this race and focus on myself right now.  I’m working on becoming a better person all around and it’s something I can be proud of.  It’s not the path I would have chosen for myself, but its a path that presented itself, and I’m happy to say I’m enjoying the journey. 

Did a less than favorable situation ever drive you to something good?


About the Author Aubrie Fennecken

Aubrie Fennecken is the Chief Alchemist at Opportunity Kitchen | work + wellness strategist | nonprofit fundraising expert | providing productivity and self-care support for mission-driven humans


  1. Yes, more than once and always things turned about better than I ever expected.
    The same Will be true for you!
    Better treasures and someone very special is out there for you, sweet, talented, beautiful niece!

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