Thursday, June 12, 2014

Why I Run

The other day I picked up my bib for the Susan Komen 5k. This race has a special place in my heart because 4 years ago it was the first race I ever ran.

Four years ago I was nearing my Jenny Craig goal weight and was looking for some sort of physical challenge. I'd recently switched gyms and started going to Body Combat (kickboxing) and Body Pump (weight lifting) classes. One thing about me is I'm super competitive. Granted, I'm not that jerk who's always trying to one up someone but I definitely love a competitive challenge. I guess that's part of the reason I'm in sales. I LOVE the thrill of seeing your name or your team's name at the top of the leader board. Mmmmm salesy goodness.

Alright, back to the story. My brother runs marathons and has for years. I figured that if he could run 26.2 I could run 3.1. Like so many people I used the Couch to 5K app and trained entirely on the treadmill (bad idea). Growing up I was the opposite of athletic. I was a sedentary, chubby child of the 80s and would rather sit inside than play outside. I remember hating the Presidential Physical Fitness challenge every year. Running the mile was absolute torture I remember my best time being 20 minutes. Thanks for the trauma Regan. Starting the C25K I was pretty sure I was more physically fit than I was as a child but I didn't have very high hopes this time around. I tried to run before and I always thought I was going to die.

I remember that I hardly slept the night before, I was so nervous. I didn't even sign up for the competitive race, I did the walk/run and tried to bypass most of the walkers. By the way, I wouldn't recommend training exclusively on the treadmill. Bad things happen when you get outside, like hills. I had no idea NC was so damn hilly until I started running. I hate you hills. I think I ended up finishing in 37 minutes and I immediately wanted to improve that time. I guess I caught the bug.

No pix of the first 5K but this is the 2nd. I wasn't the best at picking out decent races back then. I'm pretty sure we ran around a soccer field and out on a green way. At this race I also learned that men put band aids  on their nipples.Yea, never knew that was a thing. Later I volunteered at mile 17 of a marathon and saw the consequences first hand of what happens when men don't guard their nipples.


I swear I'm running here.

That first year I ran a few more 5ks, an 8 and 10k. Near the end of the year I remember sitting across from Kev and saying that I thought I wanted to run a half marathon. And the next April, less than a year after I started running, I completed my first half marathon.

I'm not fast. Far from it. I also don't have any illusions about my running skill. I'll never qualify for Boston, I'll never win a race or my age group. But I'll compete and collect my pile of race shirts and bibs and at each race I'll remember that chubby kid who couldn't run a single mile. Fitness is a gift that we shouldn't squander.

On Saturday I'll run the Komen race for 4th time and I'll continue to run it every year I'm able and I'll never take it for granted. 

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