How it All Started...
I haven't always been a runner. In fact, although I certainly had the height and natural ability, I never played school basketball because of one simple reason: there was too much running! Up until seven years ago, I was the quintessential non-runner. A slow jaunt to the mailbox and back was the extent of my running abilities and even that was overdoing it.
Two years after having my second child, I suddenly found myself motivated to get back into shape and lose the extra baby weight that was still (literally) hanging around. I started walking in earnest every day and lost about ten pounds. It was a good start, but I was eager and impatient. One day, while out for my walk, I did the craziest thing: I started running! Granted, it only lasted 30 steps before I had to stop, wheezing and gasping for breath. But those 30 steps were the start of something even I could never have foreseen.
What began as running simply for weight loss and recreation has turned into a bona-fide obsession. At the encouragement of a good friend, I ran my first 5K in June of 2005 and have been hooked ever since. I was bitten by the marathon bug in June of 2006; I'd trained for five months, pounding the pavement every week for hours on end through the worst of winter conditions and constant nagging aches and pains. When I crossed the finish line four hours, twenty-six minutes and fifty-four seconds after the starting gun went off, I was utterly exhausted but absolutely triumphant. Once out of the way of the crowd, I fell to my knees, held my head in my hands and sobbed, knowing I had just accomplished something extraordinary by all standards.
After enduring a spate of minor injuries and staging a comeback, I ran my second marathon a year later. As I crossed the finish line, once again overcome with exhausted elation, I realized how much I love running long-distance. I'll never be a speedster and will probably always place somewhere in the middle of the pack, but whether it's a local 5K or another marathon, I'm always planning my next race. To date, I've finished seven half-marathons and four full marathons... with many more to come!
My family and friends are a huge support, of which I couldn't do without. But truth be known, I don't run for anyone but myself. I run to test my body. I run to clear my mind. I run to embrace my emotions. I run to celebrate my life.
It's what I do. It's what I am.
I am a runner.