My name is Kelly Grace (Garrity) Haldeman. I am a proud born NEW JERSEY girl, who LOVES the beach, animal prints, big hair, and the hustle of city life (NYC of course). I however reside in Pennsylvania with my husband in an old farmhouse from 1775, and our four-legged child Reeser. It was a very “Green Acres” situation when we first met IN 2007! Imagine my shock when showing up to his house in 4-inch stilettos, tight jeans and a long white peacoat! Lets just say 98 acres of farmland didn't mesh well with an outfit like that, but our souls did! <3 In the traditional boy meets girl and they fall in love, I adapted to my current lifestyle including having our beautiful September wedding right there in our backyard (we got a tent with a floor so I did in fact wear heels!) We have been together for 10 years, and married for 3 ½. I attended college at East Stroudsburg University where I majored in sports journalism and wanted to one day write for the NFL (More on that later) Present day, I work 2 jobs which I adore! An onsite account manager at a local staffing firm, Gage Personnel (www.gagepersonnel.com) and the marketing and social media coordinator at my local running store, A Running Start (http://www.arunningstart.biz/) My future plans include being the 1st person in Berks County to complete the 6 world marathon majors.
College was a fabulous experience and a real revelation! I was a little fish in a big pond, coming from a small private school of 61 in my graduating class to a HUGE university full of such diversity and no shortage in opportunities. I went to college at age 17, as I was very young when I started Kindergarten. It took me 5 years to finish, but I don’t have any regrets! It was my first real experience with setbacks. Looking back, I was ALWAYS able to pick up the pieces and start fresh!
Im proud to be able to tell my story. In 2006 I sustained severe injuries due to a car accident. I hit an S curve going too fast and my car flipped 2 times onto a major highway. I was medevacked to Lehigh Valley hospital where they found I had 6 skull fractures, a broken nose and toe, extensive nerve damage to my eyes, one was sealed shut so I had limited vision, a blood spot on the brain, and a minor tear on my carotid artery in my neck. I could not walk for 11 days; recovery took over 6 months at Good Shepherd Rehabilitation Center, including physical, occupational, and aqua therapy. I have had 3 eye surgeries to date and no vision in my left eye.
Many years passed of not talking about what happened and being embarrassed and cautious about showing my left eye and not really knowing where my place was and what I was here for, and missing out on the dream of becoming a journalist for the NFL(who wants to see what i saw in the mirror on tv? NO ONE!). 2012 came and something amazing happened… I found running! I was not good at it at all! I wasn’t even able to run ½ mile without stopping or being out of breath. Once I was able to go over a mile without stopping…. I was UNSTOPPABLE and it lit a fire in me! I loved it. I ran to the gym, I ran to work, I ran to friends’ houses. I was so proud of the 45lbs I shed in that year and all the hard work and dedication I found again within myself! I remember looking in the mirror one day thinking, “I spent so much time feeling sorry for myself and look what I can do? Look how many people aren’t as lucky as I am. I am alive, I can walk, and I can RUN!!” It is a BLESSING to be alive, which is now really a “BLESSON.”
Blessons is in place to SUPPORT, and teach women there is ALWAYS a reason for the things that happen to us, but if you are patient, fight and dig deep for the lesson, your traumatic experience becomes a “Blesson.” It is an honor to be considered to run for Blessons! I love to run, and I love the founder and her amazing story! I have to have positive people in my life to nurture and help me when I feel down, but I also have to look around and “re-humble” myself when I feel like my situations are horrible. When I finally was able to say “Yes, I will never be what the world thinks is “beautiful” again on the outside, but I'm going to work hard to be beautiful on the side where it counts, and help others.
To quote one of my “go-to” quotes, because it's true. "Life is hard, YOU need to be HARDER!" The world ain't all sunshine and rainbows. It's a very mean and nasty place... and I don´t care how tough you are, it will beat you to your knees and keep you there permanently, if you let it. You, me or nobody, is gonna hit as hard as life. But ain't about how hard you hit... It's about how hard you can get hit, and keep moving forward... how much you can take, and keep moving forward. That´s how winning is done. Now, if you know what you worth, go out and get what you worth. But you gotta be willing to take the hits. And not pointing fingers saying: You ain´t what you wanna be because of him or her or anybody. Cowards do that and that ain´t you! You´re better than that.” -ROCKY
When I was a child obsessed with the Dallas cowboys (still am) I swore i was going to play in the NFL and be the next “troy aikman” I even made classmates call me Troy, until I actually played football and realized I was terrible! It was an awesome memory though, especially for today's world, because my parents never ever told me that “girls can't play football” I remember my mom actually making me shirt with the #8 on it just like troy aikman and letting me do whatever the heck it was in the backyard thinking i was playing football! Ha!
At first, running was to “look good” but now I run because so many people believe in me and I love that. I want to show everyone out there that you just have to have passion. Do whatever you love even if you are terrible at it, but DON'T quit and don't ever stop believing in yourself! As another source of an outlet, I read Nicholas Sparks books… OVER and OVER! I just love them and it's fabulous down time for myself when I'm not running!
It's not easy to overcome challenging life lessons. I'm not going to lie, in my 20’s I turned to the bottle (wine, vodka, beer I'm not picky). Now, that I was able to prove to myself I don't need that in my life (and it really doesn't solve anything). I have great people in my life that I can always turn to. I love my fitness family! At any given time, I can turn to any of them, male or female, old or young, runner or crossfitter and they give me exactly what I need!
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