By all accounts, radiant NYC runner Carley Houser, training for her first NYC Marathon, is the picture of health and beauty.
"Life is good. Life is very good," Carley said recently, sitting down to chat with me in an East Village cafe. But it's been a long road to get to this point, she said. Carley has been living in recovery since 2012. She has been running for almost two of those years.
"I connected with Back on My Feet because I have been to hell and back. I hit bottom and didn't have a place to live for three months." ~Carley Houser
On January 30, 2014, the day after her birthday, Carley woke up feeling "unhappy with a bunch of things in my life," she said. She decided to run, and Googled how to become a runner. After finding some treadmill workouts online, Carley began doing run-walk programs on the treadmill at her gym. By the time spring came, she had progressed to running consistently outside. Now, less than two years later, she has run 6 half marathons and is training for her first full marathon, the 2015 TCS NYC Marathon.
"Running helps keep me sober," Carley says. "When I was drinking and using, it was a completely different life and my well-being was nowhere on my mind."
Through a friend at work, Carley found out about Back on My Feet, a non-profit that helps people experiencing homelessness literally get back on their feet through the discipline, training and mental and physical benefits that go along with running.
"Substance abuse and addiction is huge in the United States and the awareness is not out there. When these people in Back on My Feet get sober and get healthy, there's nothing they can't do. And that's how I feel now. I’m running a marathon now. I feel like there’s nothing I can't do. So it’s a huge part of my story," Carley says.
Carley is running the TCS NYC Marathon - her very first marathon - in honor of Back on My Feet. She is fundraising for Back on My Feet to support the non-profit's life-saving programs. Check out Carley's fundraising page here to contribute to the cause.