Running is my constant. I am just getting back to it after having 2 beautiful children. When a friend asked me about doing a 10-mile run with her, I felt a chill of excitement come up from my toes to my head. I had plantar fasciitis, sciatica and pubic bone separation after having the kids and running was causing me pain. Instead of giving up, I built strength through my home fitness programs. It was like having a personal trainer in my living room and I got conditioned for cardio with Insanity, flexibility with Piyo and strength with Hammer and Chisel. I felt ready again! I’ve been on 3 training runs and only have about 2 months left to build mileage. I will do it! I am committed. Running is my jam.
My passion for running started around 10. I remember my father was on a fitness kick and I jogged with him around the neighborhood. I didn’t always know how to connect with him, but running alongside him and being part of what he was doing, felt good. When I was younger, I looked forward to mixing his drinks when he got home from work., so running around the neighborhood was at least a healthier way to relate. I don’t remember having conversation or how many times we actually ran, but we ran. I completed my first 5k race for a cause with my cousin when I was 12 and I loved the excitement, the free snacks and the random strangers who seemed so excited that we were the ones running and not them. The feeling of excitement and joy while willing your feet to keep moving one foot in front of the other has always sparked a deep sense of fulfillment in me and when it was paired with people I cared about and strangers who cheered for me, well it just became even more of my favorite thing. That feeling of crossing the finish line is like the cherry on top. Nothing like it!
In my junior high track years, I remember getting to the indoor track and seeing the workout for the day on the wall and dreading the long miles we had ahead of us whether they were indoor or outdoor. As soon as I started running, the dread faded out and happiness and joy seeped in. High school running left me with slightly different memories. I remember running the mile on the indoor track and when I crossed the finish line out of breath and exhausted, I would make a break for the bathroom and dry heave or actually get violently sick. I don’t know if I ever fueled my body right back then or even knew how to. It was an awful feeling, but when I recovered, I’d go check out my time, go back to the team and get excited to see if we won the meet and got excited for the next race. Runner’s high always set in, either during the run or right after. There is nothing like endorphins to brighten your mood. I will never forget one day when we got back on the bus and the coach called me the VIP of the meet because I placed 3rd in the mile and got a 6:13 time! Those few points I earned at the end took us into winning the meet! This was my fastest mile ever and I was proud beyond words. I’ll never forget the feeling of the one time I placed in track. I have more memories of college cross country especially those group sprints or 5 am runs uphill (which I think was actually soccer practice). I didn’t stay with cross-country throughout college but I still ran for enjoyment and exercise.
Over the years, I’ve run through trails, streets of Boston, Maine, Cape Cod, Nara, Japan, Spain, Mexico, Florida, Vegas and just about every other place I’ve visited. Running is an experience for me. I take in all the sights and sounds around me at a higher level. I’m more present than ever when I’m running. For me, it makes me feel at one with the earth, sky, and universe, and for that 10, 20, 45 minutes, my head clears and I’m on top of the world. When I finished a run this morning, I was brought back to all those times in my life where running was there. I thought of the timeline of my life and how I always came back to this no matter what was going on in my life.
In my running career, I have run 5 half marathons, 1 full marathon, a ton of 5ks and 10ks, 3 sprint triathlons, and 1 olympic triathlon all completed before having children. Last year, I did 2 Spartan and I loved how it incorporated strength, skill and I had a team to lean on and help out. Half marathons are my favorite distance, but my most memorable run ever was the Seattle Rock and Roll Marathon. It was exactly how I imagined it and I felt awesome throughout the beautiful run with new bands at every mile.
If you ever have a goal in running, set up your training schedule, believe in yourself, trust in yourself and put one foot in front of the other! Find some music you love, and find some scenic spaces to visit. I love running by the water. The breeze helps too! Run with a friend whenever possible or at least stick to areas where other runners or people are around for safety. If you’re interested in some programs that may help you get conditioned to start running and you want to do that at home, I can help you find something that works for you. I also recommend Hal Higdon’s free training schedules for running. Couch to 5k is a great place to start, and get a great pair of sneakers you replace often! Happy trails!!