Many years ago, I tried to run. I entered a few 5ks, received a few t-shirts for my efforts, and in the end, I didn't stick with it. It was hard. The fire-breathing, leg-dragging WORK that was involved ultimately turned me off.
I wasn't ready.
Close to a year ago, I was coming to the end of my "diet." Not a diet at all, really, but a true lifestyle change. (Yes, I know that sounds ridiculously corny, but it's the truth.) I had reached my goal weight and was ready to maintain it. And our annual beach vacation was looming.
Working out was absolutely a vital part of my day. We have an elliptical machine at home that I used every day. I have a large set of weights that I rely on. I was going to be a week without my teeny-tiny home gym, and I needed to find an easy way to be active while we were traveling. ESPECIALLY since I planned on indulging in lots of good food and beer throughout the week. After all, it's vacation, no?
So every morning I laced up my shoes. And I ran.
It was harder than I ever imagined it would be. I had been working out, HARD, almost every single day for over 18 months. But that was in my air conditioned home, in a routine that my body was used to. Running was something new and different, something that my body was definitely not accustomed to. The sweltering heat and suffocating humidity certainly did not help the situation.
But still I laced up my shoes. And I ran.
After vacation ended and I had the option to return to my teeny-tiny air conditioned home gym, I took it. But once a week or so, I chose to skip the elliptical and run with a local run club in the evening instead. The group was warm and welcoming, fun, and inspiring. Runners of all shapes, sizes, and paces gathering to run together and enjoy a beer together at the finish. (I'm not gonna lie, the beer was a big attraction for me.)
Eventually, once a week turned into twice, turned into three times. I didn't have to stop to walk so often. My distances increased. My pace decreased. I signed up for a couple of 5ks. I CRUSHED my 5k record from years ago. I signed up for a half-marathon. I battled through an injury and finished just under my goal time. I started dreaming about running as I slept. I got a weird, happy, excited, nowIhavetopee feeling every time I got ready to head out the door. I bought a jogging stroller so I could run with Charlotte. I became a bona fide, card-carrying member of the run club.
I became a runner.
It's still hard work, no doubt. But it's the kind of satisfying hard work that I love. I love the time to reflect, with the wind at my back. I love the glory of crossing a finish line and receiving a medal signifying my accomplishment. I love the strength and grit and endurance and dedication that I am modeling for my children. And I love the runner that I have become.
|An ugly cry as I crossed the finish line of the Holly Springs Half-Marathon in disbelief.|