As race day gets closer, I’ve been logging some pretty big miles. Last weekend I did a 10-mile run, which is not only the longest distance I’ve run in 2 years but also the most amount I’ve done since living in Colorado. I know this sounds batty, but I actually really enjoyed myself. It was a cool, crisp morning and I felt at peace being out on the trail running for a couple of hours with the mountains as my backdrop.
Some of you out there might be saying, “pssh, I’ll never run that kind of distance.” I know because that used to be me. I was the chubby kid in gym class that couldn’t even run a mile around the track. During our physical fitness tests, I would just hang from the chin-up bar with my entire body shaking, trying with all my might to at least go halfway up to the bar yet not even moving an inch, waiting for the gym teacher to say in a defeated tone, “OK, you gave it your best shot.”
Despite my lack of skill in physical activities, when I was growing up I tried every single sport that a kid could possibly play – soccer, tennis, softball, track, and even cheerleading. And, I gave up on every single sport after only playing for a few months, sometimes even a few short weeks. My mom would get upset, rightfully so, because of the fees that were accruing with my trial period of sports.
It wasn’t until high school where my athleticism kicked in. I was part of the girls’ lacrosse team, which was technically still only a club at the time because it hadn’t gained in popularity in the southeast until after I had graduated. My teammates and I were a band of misfits, the group of girls in high school who weren’t all that sporty. We were an eccentric lot of girls, and even though we all didn’t have pink hair or body piercings, we all had the common bond of the deep love for the sport and each other.
Although I thoroughly enjoy running now, running and I had a love-hate relationship at first. I was always one of the last to finish our runs during after-school lacrosse practice. I would get frustrated that my legs wouldn’t move faster. I played defense on the team because, plain and simple, I wasn’t a good runner.
My dad would help me train on the weekends – sprinting up hills, doing stadiums, working on form, running what seemed like long distances at the time, etc. I’ll never forget when one of my popular male classmates asked me if he saw me running with my dad on a main road in town, and after I confirmed that it was indeed us running he playfully teased how it looked like I couldn’t keep up with my dad. Yep, that was me. Red-faced, panting, lungs screaming, trying to keep up with my good ol’ dad.
My dad still remains one of my running role models to this day, and he continues to inspire me. He actually got me my first and only running watch that I use religiously. I sent him a picture the other day of how many miles I’ve racked up since he bought me the watch over 2 years ago. It’s hard to believe that I was once that fat kid in gym class that couldn’t even make it a mile.
I’m still a slow runner and I never fall in the front of the pack, but I’m pretty proud of what I’ve been able to accomplish with running in the last several years. And, I’m extremely excited for this next running adventure. Have I mentioned that I’m training for a half-marathon while raising funds for Mercy For Animals? I have? Well, have you donated yet? If not, then why? 🙂 Please consider helping this incredible organization in their life-saving work.
This next weekend I’m going to aim for 11 miles – wish me luck! Although I am FAR from being a running expert, if you could take away one piece of advice from this blog post is to never give up and never say never. Set your goals high and aim for what may seem like the impossible. Keep on running!