One day I randomly signed up for a community 5k walk/run with a friend. I naturally signed up for the walk as I was not a runner. On the day of the walk I watched all the runners run past me and thought to myself "I want to do that, I wonder if I could?" I never played sports as a kid and grew up taking dance classes. At the time, my exercise consisted of long walks up and down hills with my son in his stroller. A few days later, I woke up early in the morning and decided to give it a try. I got ready and ran out of my front door. It was a beautiful summer morning and I ran as the sun rose. My music was playing and it was exhilarating! I was hooked....My body felt great and I was naturally energized. It also makes you just feel happier and want to eat healthier. I continued running through that summer and kept adding to my distance. The feeling you get when you reach your goal is so satisfying, and it makes you want to do even more. I completed my first 5k and 10k. I felt accomplished and proud of myself for trying something new. I ran better than I thought I could.
(Running is also a great way to clear your head. To me, it's an escape from reality, like a mini vacation. And then you come home all refreshed and ready to keep going. As a mom, it is very healthy for me.)
Since then, I got pregnant and had another baby. I tried running during that but it was difficult physically for me. Now I am healed and looking forward to getting back at it! I try to get out whenever I have a chance, and am looking forward to running in the nice weather. I pretty much have to start back at the beginning, doing just a mile or so at a time. But since I did it before, i am confident I can do it again. I plan on signing up for a few races and my definite goal is to run a half marathon. I have a ton of admiration for people that can run a full marathon. I can't even imagine doing it, but I give the runners that do a lot of respect for all of their hard work and determination!
My very first memory when it comes to running was in sixth grade. I was at Dickson School and it was the end of the school year. My classmates and I were so very excited to pick what kind of classes and activities we wanted to pursue in junior high. We felt so adult! My good friend said to me, "Let's do cross country". I wanted to try as much as possible with my friends - it would be fun no matter what. So naturally, I said "OK!". There was a small problem. I didn't know what cross country was!
It's kind of funny that this happened. Since I started, I was hooked! We would run up to three miles max. What sounds like a breeze now was grueling back then. Not only did I enjoy it, but I wasn't bad! I became a captain in the eighth grade! That's not saying much now, and it's really not a big deal, but back then, it was a big accomplishment and it was fun!
After that, running was more of a form of exercise for me. In high school, I ran to keep in shape. I joined Field Hockey because I liked the conditioning that came with it. But, after two years, I asked myself, "I run for field hockey. Why don't I just join cross country?". High School cross country is entirely different than junior high. Our longest runs were 9 miles. Our warm ups were one mile. I wasn't that good, speed wise. In fact, I was always the last girl. But, I didn't walk and that was my goal! And I made great relationships with my team mates. There is something about a runners bond. We just get each other, as corny as that sounds!
Cross country camp was a two week long period right before school started in August. As part of our conditioning, our whole team signed up for a 5K, Run Around the Square. That was my first ever 5K. It was a blast. Even now, I make it a point to run that race every year. It's my favorite. I think I have participated in that race 8 times since then.
I continued running in college, to again, stay in shape. But when I graduated, the stress of the real world got to me. I would run to stay in shape, yes, but at that point, it was much more than that. It was a stress reliever for me. I find it to be very therapeutic. When I run, all of my stress and worries disappear. I'm sure the endorphins help, but there is no better feeling than finishing that run, covered in sweat, the taste of salt on your lips, and the weak feeling in your legs. That may sound awful to some people, but it's physical proof of the hard work that you've done!
I continue to sign up for races any chance I get. I don't run races (at least small ones) for time. It's more of a way for me to keep up with my running. I ran two half marathons in 2013 and am training for the full marathon in May. Running is a sport where people get hooked. You know what used to get me excited? Shopping for clothes and Bath and Body Works products. Now, I find myself getting excited to shop for running gear, shoes, gels, etc. I think it's safe to say that I've been bitten by the running bug. And I don't think it's going away any time soon :).
I once again want to thank everyone who sent me their story about how they got started with running. I think they have shown that there are many different types of runners from the mothers, to the competitive, to the people who just want to lose weight. Every story hopefully can relate to a person who is thinking about starting running or a person that is thinking about giving up and motivate them to stay with it.