The year is 1987.  I’m four years old.  I love getting on my bike with training wheels and pedaling just as fast as my little legs will carry me. Until the fateful day when one of my training wheels breaks off.  But that doesn’t stop me.  Nothing will.  Despite my mom’s scolding, I wobble down the street, balancing on three wheels, feeling the wind in my hair and the sun on my face, biting down on my pacifier with all my might.  Until my mom decides it’s too dangerous and takes the other training wheel off. “That’ll stop her from getting on that bike,” she thinks.  And then she does a double take as she sees me fly by on two wheels, close on the heels of my big sis.

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The year is 1989.  I’m six years old.  I love dribbling the basketball up and down the sidelines during my big sister’s basketball practice. No matter how many times her coach yells “quit dribbling the ball!” I keep on going.  Nothing can stop me.  I finally convince my parents that even though I’m 6 years old, that’s plenty old enough to join my own basketball team.

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The year is 1994.  I’m 11 years old.  I love to tumble down the mat, feeling the strength in my arms as I propel myself up into the air in a tight little ball and the muscles in my legs as my feet land, strong and balanced. The only thing I like better than doing back handsprings is the cute little leotard that comes with it.

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The year is 2002.  I’m 19 years old. I love the adrenaline rush that comes as I walk onto the court for the state quarter finals game. I play my heart out, but it’s not enough.  The game ends and I walk off the floor for the last time after 13 years of early morning practices, late night games, sprained ankles, disappointing losses and glorious victories.  The tears blur my eyes as I wrap my arms around my mom, wondering inside “what next?”

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The year is 2008. I’m 25 years old.  I love the calmness of early morning runs through our Thai neighborhood. I repeat my mantra “run steady, run strong” in my head as I sidestep a parked motorbike.  I always said I hated “running just to run.”  But all that has changed.  All I can think about is crossing the finish line of my first half marathon.  I can’t really picture exactly what it’ll be like, but I know it will feel like nothing I’ve ever felt before.

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The year is 2009.  I’m 26 years old.  I love the feeling of accomplishment as I pass mile 13 and press on for the next half of my race with the husband by my side. I struggle against the wind and humidity as I focus on placing one foot in front of the other, moving alongside the lake.  I want to finish more than anything, but it still just doesn’t quite seem possible.  But I know I’ll do it.  Because nothing can stop me.

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The years is 2010.  I’m 27 years old.  I love the way moving my body makes me feel. I don’t ever always love dragging myself out of bed before the sun comes up.  But whether it’s yoga, PiYo, running, taking a walk with the husband, doing a video, lifting weights, riding a bike or taking a class at the gym, I love the way it makes me feel as if I’m on top of the world, like I can accomplish anything I want.

That is why I move my body. It’s a feeling that no one can ever take away.

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