Lots of people as me how I started running. One step at a time I tell them. Really that is how I started …that and a few dares!
We got a new dog a few years back. She was a puppy with all the energy of a toddler and no place to expend said energy. Thus we started our daily walks. I thought this would be great exercise for me and a good way to wear her out. We would walk a lap or 2 around the park. Weeks went by and I was not breaking a sweat and she had energy to spare so I started jogging from one tree to another on part of our loop. It wasn’t much but she seemed to like it. Each week I extended the distance to a further tree. Then came the dare.
I buddy of mine dared me to run a 5K….really? 3 miles?! I couldn’t run a lap much less 3 miles but not one to back down…I agreed. I training using the Couch to 5K program all summer long. My goal race was the local Turkey Trot. I ran and WALKED a lot that summer and when the weather was cool enough took the puppy along. It was good for both of us.
Fall came and so did the race. I realized that the race was not really timed so I signed up for one the weekend before, another local Turkey Trot. My kids came out to cheer me on. It was a chilly morning but I did it! I ran (and walked a bit) a 5K! I crossed that first finish line crying like a baby. I didn’t think I could ever do something like move for 30 minutes straight! I ran the other TT the following week and amazed myself again! What was I doing?!
I continued to run 5k’s through the following spring and summer only to be challenged again in the fall. My cousin (also one of my very best friends) threw down the gauntlet. She said if I would train for a half marathon, she would pay for my entry fee. My parents gave me the gift of airfare for Christmas and another adventure was born. I trained through the cold Chicago winter and in March flew to Virginia Beach and ran the Shamrock Half Marathon. It was another milestone in the journey.
What next, you ask….well…..a full marathon. What else?! Really? Who am I kidding. I was as stunned as the next person the night I registered for the Chicago Marathon and hit the send button. It is a pretty daunting task to think about running 26.2 miles. So….I was not going to lose my money. I found the Hal Higdon training plan and set off on preparing for the longest run of my life. the training was never easy. It was rarely fun. I was alone A LOT. My ipod kept me company but I didn’t have anyone to ask advice or council me on what I was doing right/wrong. I was a total trail and error runner….well…I really didn’t think of myself as a runner. I felt like an impostor. Just someone who looked like a runner sometimes.
I saw some of the same faces on the trail each Saturday when I ran. I just would notice the same folks passing me by making it look effortless and think…Really? They are chatting and laughing! I am struggling to get my breath!
So I lined up and ran my first marathon. Crossing the finish line was life changing for me. (more on that in another post) I was on a path that I never saw coming. I was at a fork in the road and I took the road less traveled for a person like me.
So here I sit….3 marathons, several half marathons and countless other races under my belt and I am still excited to run. I look forward to lacing up my shoes and hitting the road less traveled. I do not know what adventure lies ahead along the road but what I do know is this…my life and running will evolve one step at a time.