Pixie Harlow

Monday, January 12, 2015

Balance is the word I am trying to live, being in traffic  for 2 hours. Maybe I can squeeze in some runs while traffic is moving along. Multitasking...

Since I was a little girl, I dreamed of being the athlete my brothers were. Short, chubby, with a thirst for entertaining, I focused my energies into performance for the next 27 years. In 2012, I lived in China with my band on a night club contract. We lived the ROCKSTAR life and paid the price for it emotionally, financially, and physically. When I returned to the states in 2013, I didn't have a dime or a dream in my pocket, and lived at the bottom of a bottle for many months.

A deep depression sunk in, my self esteem diminished, and my life was spiraling further to a point of no return. I truly felt I had nothing and no value to live for and I wanted to run away from it all, but how could I? I was broke, fat and unhealthy, and couldn't really run. I had no money, no home, a new job that was somewhat promising, no successful relationship to date, and no courage. Then, one day, an old friend reached out to me on FB. He had just gone through the loss of his father, and yet was reaching out TO ME to see if I wanted to come to his run club on Monday night.

A run club? Me? Who was he kidding? I'd never ran a mile in my life. For weeks I made promises of coming, and then would let my anxiety convince me otherwise. But he never gave up. Every week Syzko would FB me, text me, call me. He was determined. So one Monday night in March, I took my first step with this crew called Rundalay.

It was just a small group of runners that had started with just Syzko. There were about 8 of us that night. We met at a little park, did some warm up movements, and headed out. The positive energy was unbelievable. My body was fighting every step that I was taking, but my mind started to find a calm, a rhythm, a voice of its own outside of the negativity. For about 20 minutes, I escaped my evil self.

That night I finished my first mile ever. I kept coming back and getting stronger. My confidence was growing and my waist was slimming. About a month in a half into this new "running" thing, we finished our first 5k as a group. I remember this being one of the hardest things I'd ever done in my life, and when we finished and they celebrated my success, I fell to the ground in exhaustion and tears of joy.

I had finally overcome myself.

This was a pivotal moment in my life. I knew that if I overcame my own self made obstacles, I could overcome anything. I wanted every person in the world to feel the sense of accomplishment that I had. I wanted to change lives, so I devoted my life to Rundalay. I quit drinking, started eating clean and exercising often, and lost over 30 lbs. Monday is now my favorite day of the week, and I look forward to encouraging others on their running journey. Changing the way you think about running actually changes the way you think about everything in life. I got my act together, was promoted at work, found my own apartment in DTLA, and had a vision to live for. All within three months of joining this run club.

Rundalay has since grown into a global running movement in downtown Los Angeles and beyond. Once a month we have a charitable run where all the proceeds go to local organizations. We've donated, socks, shoes, canned food, clothing, and this month are having a pillow drive! Not only that, we've held runs in Mexico, Madrid, London, Paris, Rome, and Chicago. Our highest turn out so far is 133 runners / warrior walkers stomping through DTLA. We run rain or shine, and offer different paces and a warrior walk which is a 30 minute walk that incorporates strength training to prepare walkers for the jog level. Rundalay grooms runners for the next big run, no matter how big or how small; it's personal to each runner.

My personal journey has continued to blossom. I started a dog running business to tie in my love for pooches and running and have 6 regular rambunctious dogs that hit the trails with me weekly. It's a blessing to be making an income doing what I love. And, this past Fall, I competed in the Herbalife LA Triathlon (my first). Now that I knew what I was capable of once I put my mind to it, I challenged myself to become a full blown triathlete. Not only did I complete that race, but I placed 3rd in my division and was awarded a medal.

In order to prepare for this tri, I needed support to run distance, and I knew I'd be stronger if I did it with my Rundalay crew. So we started Night Owl, a distance run once a month in a different city that invites street athletes who are more advanced than a 5k.

The vision for Rundalay is to be in every city, encouraging, grooming, and building runners from the ground up. We focus on celebrating, empowering, and giving back to the communities that have supported us for so long. We literally do it for the run.

Rundalay not only changed my life, it carved out the pathway to my future. It is the vehicle for me to help others change their lives. This crew has become my family, my friends, my support system, my dream, my hope, my vision, my love, and my savior. Through this amazing community, my dreams have come true, and this is just the beginning.

- Follow her on instagram: @maryisapixie , @rundalay #doitfortherun

(my best friend, Syzko [the one who started it all] and I running with ValleyRunnersLA in the pouring rain)


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