When New Jersey resident Suzanne Swanson hit rock bottom, she wasn’t thinking about marathons or a running strategy to set PRs.
👉Mostly, she was thinking about alcohol and food, and how it was ruining her life.
But she wasn’t sure how to break the cycle of drinking, eating, gaining weight…
And then it happened.
Born out of desperation, she stumbled upon a running strategy that changed everything...
Suzanne had been here before. Drinking, eating, gaining weight, and repeating the cycle.
She even lost close to 100 pounds once.
Kept it off for awhile, then spiraled back into old habits.
But this time it was different...
"My draw-the-line came after a two-day bender of drinking," says Suzanne.
"I vomited for like 17 hours. I was laying in my bed thinking, 'What are you doing? You're letting this ruin your life, and for what?'"
She looked around the room, her head still spinning from another hangover, and something caught her eye.
And that's when it happened.
"Something inside of me snapped," says Suzanne.
"It was like the shoes were speaking to me...
She slipped on the running shoes, and headed out the door with one goal in mind...
"I decided I was going to train myself to run mailbox to mailbox," says Suzanne.
It wasn't easy. On that first run, she couldn't even go a half-mile without stopping.
But she made it to the mailbox, turned around, and made it back home.
That's how it started...
"There was something so freeing about it," says Suzanne.
"For the first time in my life, I felt like the pressure of the world was lifted off of my shoulders. I felt free. And I knew I wasn't going to give up this time."
When Suzanne's sister-in-law heard she was using running to help make some massive lifestyle change, she laid down a challenge:
"There's an 18-mile race around Long Beach Island," she said. "Maybe you should do it."
For Suzanne, that sounded like an impossible task.
But instead of taking the slow and steady approach to running longer distances, Suzanne signed up to run the Long Beach Island 18-Mile run hosted by the St. Francis Community Center based in Long Beach, N.J.
"I don't do anything the normal way," says Suzanne.
She bought a cheap pair of running shoes, and used the mailbox running strategy to get ready...
"After I finished that race, I was hooked," says Suzanne. "I knew running was going to be something I could call my own."
"It's helped me in so many ways. It's helped me find out who I really am, and still does to this day. It's a never-ending journey."
Fun fact: Suzanne first ran the LBI 18-Mile Run more than a decade ago. Last month, she finished the race again in 3:05:20.
Suzanne didn't stop there...
"I really stopped looking for the next lose-weight-fast fad diet," says Suzanne.
"And I started thinking about wholistic nutrition and fueling my body to become a better runner."
And you know what happened?
"She's a superhero of mine," says Suzanne.
"She survived a serious brain tumor, even after doctors told her she would never run again. I met her through my cousin, and she kind of took me under her wing."
"From the beginning, she's been telling me running kept her alive and gave her a purpose. And that's something I really needed to hear."
Today, Suzanne is on mission to inspire other people to find their way through running.
"I'm living proof you can do it," says Suzanne. "It really starts with a mindset shift."
"If you constantly wake up every day and tell yourself:
"But if you start every day with intention, set small goals, write them down, and get to work, you can make progress. You don't have to do everything tomorrow."
The secret to getting started...
"Show up for yourself one day at a time," says Suzanne.
"Fight your battle, whatever it is, one day at a time. This starts in the mind, like trying to make it just one mailbox and then the next."
"When you're consistent and determined you'll be able to go further than you ever thought possible."
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The mailbox running strategy