I’ve never considered myself a remarkable athlete – and still don’t. I did a little recreational running in my 20s. Shortly thereafter I got married and had two daughters. Like many moms, I got caught up in the day to day business of being a caregiver and lost sight of the importance of taking care of myself.
By 2005 I had settled into being a 40-something full-time mom. Although I loved that role and found it very fulfilling in many respects, I had little identity outside my role as “Mom.” I didn’t like the tired and frumpy image in the mirror any more – so I decided to change it by doing something positive for myself. It was time to take up running again.
Over the course of the next decade, a spark ignited something within that I never imagined existed. I trained for and completed another 5K – and just kept going. 5K’s gave way to half marathons. Half marathons became full marathons. Full marathons progressed to ultra-marathon distances. After my 50th birthday, I’d run and completed two 100 mile ultra-marathons. Today, my passion is trail running. I prefer the slower pace, a softer running surface, and the ability to enjoy the solitude and peacefulness of being out in the forest. Trail running is about connecting with nature and conquering the course, whether it’s climbing mountains, navigating stream crossings, or scrambling over rocks and roots.
Motivational mantras have always been instrumental in helping me endure the mentally and physically challenging times when nagging self-doubt tries to creep in and derail my goals. I used to write mantras on my arm with a Sharpie pen to help channel the power of positive thinking. I’d repeat these mantras over and over to drown out the voices in my head begging me to quit.
It is from this idea that Run Inspired Designs was born. I created a line of jewelry called Wearable Inspiration so that the wearer could have their mantra close to their heart to always remind them of their “why” when the going gets tough.
I authored my book, Running Inspired – A Journey to Finding Inner Greatness, in order to share my story and send a message of empowerment to all women to find and chase their own passions – and dare to achieve something they never dreamed possible.
Run Inspired Designs is a family enterprise for the Banks’. I am the creative driver behind the jewelry design and evangelist for the spreading the word to empower women everywhere. The growing jewelry line has been well received with overwhelming success by women across the country, and we have received testimonials from women who not only love their Wearable Inspiration and the message, but have benefited from both while undertaking new challenges for themselves. Hearing these stories makes my heart sing and reassures me that our mission is worthwhile.
Behind the scenes my husband, Darryl, manages the business and commercial aspects of Run Inspired Designs and helps promote the important message of empowerment. Darryl is also an accomplished ultra-marathoner and incredible pacer/crew person. His experiences allow him to help share the messages of perseverance and self-belief to our audience.
About Marissa and Emily
Finally, my two daughters, Marissa & Emily, serve as marketing managers to keep the social media engine running, as well as handling the photography for our website and advertising materials. Marissa is a Division 1 cross country and track runner at UNC Asheville. Emily attends UNC Chapel Hill and enjoys running recreationally and challenging herself with the occasional half marathon. The girls appreciate the important message they are helping to send through the family business, and are role models for strength and empowerment for the next generation of women.