…with Running. Throughout the years, Running and I have always had a difficult, testy relationship. My friends would try to convince me to experiment with Running, but I always resisted. “But, I’m not a runner,” I would say. “I don’t have the right body type, I just don’t like Running.” All the while I was remembering our past experiences together that had left me with a sour taste in my mouth. There was my 6th grade year that I tried out for the kickball team, and didn’t make it. Yes, I could kick, but I wasn’t a fast runner. Of course all those Presidential fitness tests in Elementary school were torture. Then came 9th grade when I decided that I wanted to be athletic. I tried out for the track team. Coach was so sweet…he made me the team manager. He did let me run one race, but I came in last place, and it wasn’t even a close last place. It was a sad last place. That was the end of my track & field career. I’ll never forget one particularly tumultuous encounter that I had with Running in my late teens. My younger sister, who was a natural runner, persuaded me that we should run a few miles together. “Sure, who knows, I might actually enjoy Running now,” I said to myself. Keep in mind I hadn’t run…well, probably since that last 9th grade race. Let’s just say that about halfway through those couple of miles, Running dealt me a pretty violent blow in the digestive system. I won’t go into details, but I spent a good bit of time in the public restroom at a park and I think my mom or dad may have even come to pick us up and drive us home from that little venture. Running and I weren’t friends and never have been.
But, all this negative history changed one year ago this weekend. We were driving to photograph the annual Hanna Boys Center Evening with the All Stars in Sonoma (that we’re shooting tonight as well) and it just happened to be during a race from Napa to Sonoma. That day, passing the runners one by one on the road, I saw a different side of Running than I had before; a softer, inspiring side, a more compelling side. I saw people of all ages, shapes and sizes running at their own pace towards their own goal. There were old people and young people, fat people, thin people, all kinds of skin colors and body types, men and women. Then I thought about how each person was working toward a unique goal. For some, the goal was to finish the race within a certain time. For some, it was just reach the finish line. For some, the goal was probably simply to enter a race and do their very best. It was SO inspiring to see that each person was competing in his or her own race, against himself or herself! I loved that!
At first, I kept my times with Running on the down low. I didn’t even tell my husband. I would just go out in morning, plug in my Couch to 5K app and run for 45 seconds at a time. I don’t know why I was so embarrassed. I thought people would laugh at the thought of me & Running together, because after all “I’m not a runner.” After a while, I was able to share with others a little more about my relationship with Running. I treasured every minute we were together. As a homeschooling, working mom, I relished the time alone with my thoughts and enjoyed the rhythm that your body gets into as you settle into a pace. I enjoyed pushing myself just a little farther each time. I am happy to say that I ran my first 5K, the Davis Moo-nlight 5K last July. For some, that is small potatoes, but for this “non-runner” that was quite an accomplishment and I was so proud!
Running and I made great plans for the future together, but every relationship has its bumps and bruises. Sadly, the week after the 5K, while we were on vacation, I got an injury that kept me from running for the next 8 months. While I couldn’t run myself, one thing I did notice, was that every time I would pass someone cruising along on the street in a great, wild, and free run, I felt jealous. I so longed for that freedom, to just take off and go somewhere, anywhere, if only for a half hour or so, but to get there on my own two legs. I yearned for the day when I too, could get back on the open road and breath in the rhythm of those deep breaths.
And this brings me to today. Fortunately, I have been able to start running again, and boy did I miss it! I’m not fast. I don’t ever think I’ll run a six minute mile. Ever. As a matter of fact, I’m probably the lady that everyone chuckles at as they drive by. But, the great thing is that it doesn’t matter. What only matters to me is that today I ran one of my fastest miles ever. It may be slow to everyone else, but that doesn’t bother me. I’m only in competition with myself. I look forward to the day when I can meet my current goal of running the Napa Sonoma Wine Country Half Marathon that inspired me!
If I can have a relationship with Running, truly anyone can! Ladies, if you’re thinking you’re not a runner because of your body shape, just get the right gear and go for it! Don’t let that hold you back! Get inspired to do what you love and get out there and just go for it! Enjoy life!
Happy Anniversary to me! (and yes..this is what I really look like after running two miles + and taking a picture with my iPhone. I’m a cherry. It’s not a pretty sight folks, but it sure does feel good!