GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — At 7 a.m. on a Saturday, the only movement you’ll see in the city of Grand Rapids is at the YMCA, where dozens of runners stretch and ready themselves for an early morning run. Among the experienced joggers getting ready for the River Bank Run is someone who would’ve never imagined herself in this room.

“The thought of running just one mile, that was a huge accomplishment,” said Sol Hernandez, River Bank Run Road Warrior. 

Spending most her life in Grand Rapids, Hernandez didn’t often run. But that changed once she got a diagnosis that put her in a pair of running shoes. 

“I was diagnosed with PCOS right after my first child,” said Hernandez.

Hernandez was diagnosed with Polycystic Ovary Syndrome, and she was told it could have complications regarding childbirth. 

“They told me it was going to be very hard for me to have any more kids, but they did say you can control it by having better nutrition, being active,” she said.

In her attempts to add to her family through running, she found another family — one with her every step of the way.

“The running community is huge, amazing coaches that I’ve had, people that I’ve known for years encouraging me when I had those times that I didn’t feel like running,” she said.

But the positivity of the community wasn’t enough alone. Hernandez had to stay mentally tough. 

“It was hard. But when you think you can do things, if you set your mind to do that, you do that, and more. You’re capable of doing anything. I can tell you that,” she said.

Hernandez is proof of that. Finishing run after run, controlling the syndrome and bringing her second child into the world. But even after she accomplished her goal, Hernandez is still running. 

She uses it to inspire her children, running a 5k with her daughter.

“She has seen me in this journey, and now I’m inspiring her to do the same. It’s really rewarding,” she said.

But that’s not the only reason she runs.

“Running is a great way for me to let go of those things and actually be free,” she laughed. “I am free when I’m running!”

After accomplishing so much with a pair of running shoes, it doesn’t matter how dark it’ll be when she gets up to run, Sol Hernandez will always be shining.