Meet the Outrunners: Teresa Lee

by David Hampson December 11, 2019 4 min read

 

Outrun the Dark is a brand representing a community of runners who outrun their inner demons. We call them Outrunners. Either for themselves or others, an Outrunner is someone who runs to stay ahead of the darkness, and in the process inspire those around them.

In a series of interviews, you will get to know some of the Outrunners in our community, what drives them, what their struggles are and what has helped them get past them.

Today we had the chance to interview Historian and Anthropologist Teresa Lee. Originally from Houston, Texas, the Louisville resident is part of our  Facebook community group and recently started running in 2018 as a way to spend time with her family.


Hi Teresa! Can you tell us a little bit about yourself, who you are, where you are from and what you do?

I am a 43-year-old mother of one. I am originally from Houston, TX and I now live in Louisville, KY (USA). I am a historian and anthropologist and I am the site supervisor at a historic farm site.


What are you passionate about outside of running and your day job?

I am passionate about the amazing circle of friends and family. I am also a staunch advocate for social justice and equity for marginalized groups.


When and how did you start running?

I started running in February of 2018. My partner has been a runner most of his life and he and our daughter have ran several races. They started training for a race and I joined in, primarily as a way to spend time with them. I was surprised at the mental benefits I felt from running despite the physical challenges. 


What does Outrun the Dark mean to you?

Outrun the Dark is a great analogy for the emotional release that running provides. I don’t think we can ever ‘outrun’ the mental darkness, but running does provide a physical outlet for the big emotions that I experience. Which in turn allows me to be able to process and cope with them in a much healthier way than I have in the past. So, in a way running shrinks the darkness enough to make it manageable.


What is your favorite part about the Outrun the dark community?

I love how supportive and understanding people in the group are. They get that the benefits from running are more than just physical. They also understand that some days the darkness wins and that doesn’t mean you have failed; it just means you will try again tomorrow.


What has been the most trying part of your life up until now? What helped you get through it?

My life has really been one trial after another. Besides a traumatic and chaotic childhood, I have had several abusive relationships as an adult. For a long time, I chose to cope in very unhealthy ways. Until my daughter was born and then I vowed to break the generational cycle and to be the kind of mom that she deserved to have. She is the reason I am still here and still fighting.


What do you know today that you wish your 20-year-old self knew?

I wish that she knew that she was worthy of love and that love was not something that you earned, but something that was meant to be given freely. I spent a lot of years begging for love from people who were not capable of giving it and that was their shortcoming, not mine. I wish she knew that she was enough just the way she was. I also wish that she knew ‘normal’ is an illusion and therefore it is an impossible goal. I also wish she had known to stay in therapy😊


What helps you go for a run when you don’t feel like it?

My family is great motivation, they always remind me how good it feels when the run is over and are there to cheer me on. I also appreciate the people in the group that post encouragement and are open about their own struggle to get out there.


What is your alternative workout when you can't run because of injury or circumstance?

Yoga is my go-to workout when I can’t run. I have been practicing since I was 12.


Do you have any quotes live by?

I don’t really have a quote, but I have a motto of sorts.

“Never Give Up—rest and regroup when you need to but don’t quit”


What book or movie have most impacted your life and why?

My absolute favorite movie is What Dreams May Come - I love the message. I have always been a spiritual person and that movie resonated on an extraordinary level. The main idea is that we create our own heaven or hell. I find that to be so powerful and profound and true of so much of life. We can’t choose what happens to us, but we can choose how we respond.


If you could put anything on a billboard in front of the world to see, what would you put on it?

In a World Where You Can Be Anything - Choose to Be Kind, you never know what battles people are fighting.


Anything else you want to add before we wrap up?

Just a thank you to the group for being wonderful inspiration! 


Thank you, Teresa, for sharing a little bit about yourself, and good luck with training! Looking forward to hearing more about it!