For Emily Gold, running is not about beating the clock.
It's about enjoying the moment—one that brings reflection, peace and dedication.
Gold's daughter, Lizzie, was born with Pallister-Killian syndrome, an extremely rare genetic disorder that causes severe disabilities and limited life expectancy. Lizzie, now 4, suffers from as many as 70 seizures a day, needs a wheelchair to get around, and has limited eyesight and hearing.
Motivated by her daughter's devastating diagnosis four years ago, Gold set her sights on her own form of therapy. She wondered if she could jog around a lake near her home in Minneapolis. Even though she had never been a runner, her curiosity got the best of her.
"It's three miles around the lake, and I would run as far as I could," recalls Gold, now 35. "I would run and walk. And then I got to a point where I would run around (the entire lake)."
She didn’t stop there. Her runs got longer and her body grew stronger, but most importantly, she found that running made her happy.
Making it Work
In addition to Lizzie, Gold has three children under the age of six. Her runs—which she fits in whenever her husband can stay with the kids for an hour—give her a much-needed break.
"I really, really like being by myself. I like that time when I can just go, and I don't worry about anything," she says. "It helps me clear my head and gives me a little bit of a respite from the constant worry."
Gold runs outside even during Minnesota's brutal winters. While the cold rarely stops her, sometimes mental and physical exhaustion convinces her to skip a run. And she's fine with that.
"Some of those days, I just don't train," she says. "I trust myself to know when I need rest versus when I'm just trying to get out of a run. Rest is important, too."
"On days when I know I need to go, the push that gets me out the door is remembering that I'm not doing this to drop five pounds or to look great in a dress," she says. "Those reasons don't resonate with me like they used to. The reason is deeper, so the determination and motivation is deeper."