I never ran.
I hated to run. The only time I would run was if I was running away from something. But in my mid-40’s, basically a stay at home mom with two teenagers, I was overweight, unhealthy with high cholesterol and high blood pressure and facing a future filled with medications to keep me from developing heart disease.
I decided to choose an alternative path, literally, and I started walking. I would walk in the sun, the rain and the snow, and I felt my body getting used to it, and actually enjoying it.
Then I was gifted with a treadmill. Hmm, I thought, I could use this as a clothes dryer, or maybe I could actually get on it and see what happens. Walking inside on the treadmill wasn’t fun, but I started to run a little bit, and the challenge of running sparked something in me. Gradually I added running and decreased my walking…very gradually. It took months, but I was ultimately able to run a couple of miles.
Joining the club.
I listened to a lot of music, read a lot of books, and watched a lot of movies on my treadmill walk/runs, but what really turned me into a runner was joining a running club. The Beginning Women’s Training Program was the catalyst to the goal of a half marathon, although I didn’t know it at the time.
I just wanted to run a 5K, and after three months of training that is exactly what I did. Along with the friends I made in the program, we conquered our anxieties and took off…in more ways than one.
Running gave me the confidence to try new things in other areas of my life. I felt better about myself since I lost weight and reduced my high blood pressure and cholesterol without medication. And the next step after the 5K program was the 8K program, then the 10K program. Then I decided to try a 10 miler, and the only place to go from there is the half marathon. Hey, it’s only three more miles, right?
I have run 24 races in four years, and three of them were half marathons which were the hardest things I have ever done.
I can’t believe I did a second one after the pain of the first, and then a third one…and I know there are more half marathons in my future. In a half marathon there are moments of exhilaration, exasperation, excitement, exhaustion, and examination – as in, “Why am I doing this?”
One of my running coaches once told me “Run the mile you are in.” Wise advice for life as well as running. When I start a half marathon I try not to think about the fact that I will be running for the next two hours and 30 minutes. Or that if I had trained harder I could run faster and get it over with more quickly. Or that I could be home sitting on my couch watching HGTV and eating a donut. All I think about is putting one foot in front of the other, over and over and over. I try to enjoy the camaraderie of the other runners, all out there for their own reasons, but all in it together.
My path to a half marathon was one of the most rewarding journeys I have taken in my life. And now that my teens are in their twenties and are (supposedly) leaving home, I can identify myself as more than just a mom – I am a runner.