As children, we all run. We love it. It’s hard to get kids to stop running around, especially when you want them to go to bed. Then, at some point, we decide that it isn’t fun. It’s a chore. It hurts. We would rather sit around than get up and move.
I never considered myself a ‘runner’, but I always enjoyed the way I felt after I went for a run. As a seventh & eighth grader, I ran track. I am not fast (at all) so I ran the 800 meter and 1600 meter races (half mile and mile). I was decent. I don’t remember ever winning a race, but I think I was a middle of the pack finisher. Once I got to high school, I decided track wasn’t for me. Track was a spring sport, and I tried out fast pitch softball my freshman year, which turned out to be a total failure. For the next three years of high school, I decided to take the Spring off, after having tennis in the Fall, and basketball in the Winter.
I played tennis in college, and any running we did for training was definitely the worst part. It was mostly short distances around the courts and sprints. It was painful. I preferred playing a three hour tennis match to those sprints.
Something happened toward the end of college. There were times when I would go for a jog in a nearby park. It didn’t happen often at all, but when it did, it felt pretty great. I would go a couple miles, I think, but I wasn’t really keeping track. These sporadic runs kept happening after I graduated. I would run in the back field with my basset hound when I was living with my parents, and I would run around the neighborhoods when I moved to South Carolina. I ran when I moved back to Cleveland. I ran after having my children. Running had stuck with me. I didn’t pay much attention to it, but it was always there, lingering in the background. I loved the way I felt after a run. I was skinnier (I thought). My muscles were stronger and more defined. I had done something good for myself and I felt better.
About six months after having my second (and last!) child, I got back into running. And by getting back into it, I mean that I would run once every two weeks. One weekend for yoga, the next for running, then repeat. This was not serious at all, but I would run two or three miles when I went out.
Then one of my friends started a local chapter for a running group called Moms RUN this town. I thought, sure, I’ll join. It was free and a lot of my friends were joining. It started as a facebook group, and people would post about their runs. Then one day, something funny happened. I had just read that a couple of my friends had been on a great run. It actually made me feel a little depressed, because they were feeling great, and here I was sitting on the couch, not feeling great. Then I realized it was a weekend, my husband was home, and I had just put the baby down for a nap. I could actually go out and take a run, too! I don’t know why this was such a revelation, but after you have a baby, your time is so overwhelmed with taking care of them, you start to forget you can do things for yourself. This wasn’t a ‘running’ weekend, so I needed this little bump from my friends to get out there and do it. And it felt great.
I found out soon after that a few of my friends were going to run a half marathon. A half marathon! Wow! I had only ever run one 5k, and that kind of accomplishment was never on my radar. But, many of my friends hadn’t ever run farther than a 5k either, and some were just starting out. Surely, I could do it too. I had a solid base of being able to run a couple miles without passing out.
Positive peer pressure. It pushed me to make the decision.
I decided to run the Towpath Half Marathon in October. It will not be easy, and I have a lot more training to do before I’m ready, but I’m on my way. I’m up to seven miles. And the best part is that I have so many ladies cheering me on and supporting me along the way. Running is not always enjoyable, but after I get through that first mile or two, I get into a groove. I am running at least three times and week, and I WANT to go out and run. I get up early to run. I wait until the baby is in bed so I can run. I look forward to doing something good for myself (and being by myself!). I am feeling strong. I am looking better. And in October, I’m going to cross that finish line with a sense of accomplishment, and a smile on my face.