I love to run.
I know I am crazy.
Backstory: It’s not my fault. I grew up with a crazy father who loved to run incredibly long races (like 100 freaking miles long). I started running at age twelve, so I could be just like him (crazy).
He helped me train and run my first race, a local 10k (6.2 miles). When I won my age division (I was the only one in my age division) I felt like a super hero! Training hurt and raceing hurt, but I did it.
So I kept running.
I ran all through high school. I wasn’t always the best, but I loved running. I loved racing. I loved the pain and exhaustion and the satisfaction that I got when I was finished. I loved breathing hard and feeling blood pulse through my veins.
Marathon craziness: When I went to college, I was tired of running. I spent my freshman year working, studying, dating, eating and going to bed at 2 am. When I came home for the summer, I felt out of shape and lazy. I figured that I could probably get back in shape and loose a few of my freshman lbs if I ran a marathon. My father helped me plan, train and run the race.
I ran my first marathon at age 20. It was really difficult. I trained all summer, three to twelve miles, six days a week. When I finally crossed the finish line, I felt like a crazy super hero. I also thought I was going to die from exhaustion. I laid there in the grass and promised to never run another marathon.
And then I got married and had a baby. After being pregnant for nine months, I felt out of shape. I wanted to have my body back. I wanted to feel strong and powerful again. So I ran. I ran frequently but not very far (about three miles). When my baby was a few months old, I decided to run another marathon.
And that is how it all began. I would have a baby and then run a marathon. I repeated this cycle seven times. I qualified for the Boston Marathon several times and finally ran it after my seventh was born. She was just four months old on race day. I ran terribly, but I did it, and I got to see Boston.
I run because:
- Running brings me sanity. I get to run away from my problems. I can forget about house work. I can leave behind kids and homework and projects. I can run from the endless laundry and shopping and cooking and cleaning. I can run slow or fast. I can listen to music, or a book or the sound of my feet on the ground.
- Racing makes me feel like a super hero (even though I never win!). It doesn’t really matter if the race is a 5k, 10k, half marathon or a full 26.2 miles. I love worrying about what to wear, getting nervous at the start line, wanting to give up a few miles into the race, pushing through the pain, running with strangers, getting water from kind volunteers, and crossing the finish line. It makes me feel super awesome to race.
3. I get to see the world on foot. It doesn’t matter if I am running out my front door or running in a foreign country. I see things at a slower pace. I get to soak up the streets, the wild life, the sounds, the smells. It helps me to understand the community around me.
4. I watch the seasons change. I get to dress in layers and Yacktraks (https://www.yaktrax.com/product/run) to crunch through the snow in the Winter. I smell the new blossoms and watch the trees leaf out in the Spring. I wear a thin tank top to soak up the Summer sun. I feel the cool Autumn air as I crunch through the fallen leaves.
5. It brings me closer to my friends. I love to run with others. We talk about running, marriage, kids, food, entertainment, vacation and problems. It’s like running with a counselor. We share pain and joy. We race, we Ragnar.
6. Running makes me a better person. It makes me feel alive. I makes me feel young. It makes me a happier mother. It makes me a nicer wife. It clears my cluttered brain. It brings me closer to humanity.
Give it a try. Go for a run. Sign up for a race. Be a crazy super hero.