Post by: Amy Cotta, Swiftwick sponsored athlete
Have you ever had a dream that you didn’t pursue? Have you ever sat back and watched people around you accomplish feats that you knew you couldn’t do yourself? Have you ever wondered what it would feel like to be a part of something bigger than yourself? Me too.
BAM, back to reality. Just as quickly as I had the dream, it was gone. I remember all my excuses: I’m not a real athlete, I detest running, I can’t swim, I could never ride 112 miles on a bike, and I have a bad back and a hip that likes to move out of place whenever it feels like it. Not to mention, people like me don’t have time for such nonsense. I have a thousand kids, a job and a crazy busy life to keep up with.
Fast forward several years, a couple of life changing events, a few hundred hours in the pool (learning to swim) and a thousand or so miles in my combat boots suffering for my cause. I finally gave up all my excuses and put my faith into action. On November 17, 2013, I participated in my first full Ironman in Tempe, Arizona.
An Ironman consists of a 2.4-mile swim, 112-mile bike followed by a full marathon. I run the 26.2-mile marathon portion in United States Marine Corps combat boots and a light pack adorned with the photos of eighteen fallen military heroes.
You might be wondering why I run in combat boots. I did it as a way of dealing with my son leaving for the Marines right out of high school. My boots quickly became a source of connection, comfort, empowerment, and healing for me. Running in the boots is my way of giving back and showing love to my son and all those who serve this amazing country of ours.
Through running in the combat boots, I became friends with other military families and learned of the many stresses and needs that come with military life. I also became aware of the staggering combat PTSD and military suicide statistics.
Did you know in 2012, 349 active duty service members took their own lives? That’s more than all those killed in action. Everyday twenty-two (active and non-active) service members will take their own life. That’s about one per hour.
My mission is to show our service members and their families they are not alone and their service to our country has not gone unnoticed. I am racing to raise money for the Boot Campaign to help get counseling for service members dealing with PTSD. If you would like to help support our troops and those suffering from combat PTSD you can make a tax deductible donation via this secure website.
I would like to dare you to find your why and get outside of your comfort zone and move for a cause. Together we can use our sweat to do good and make the world a better place.