Thursday, January 26, 2017

I didn't know I was a runner...until I ran

People that know me for a long time probably really think this whole fitness part of my life was a fad...but they also know that I am a committed, determined person.  Family is my number one priority and will do anything to keep that going strong.  When I first met my husband it was just us, in love, doing all things that made us happy.  Then we grew...literally and figuratively...and our bond with each other stayed strong.  My family continued to be my number one, I continued to grow as a mom and a partner in crime...but I felt like that was my identity.

I remember a friend from back in 2000 who would just plow away miles on the treadmill and I found that so crazy.  She would be a sweaty mess post workout and it sounded beyond dreadful to me.  I was focusing on fitness for the first time in my life for me...and I was taking classes at the gym and doing a little bit of circuit training...running was no where in my radar.

Running Army Ten Miler over the years
Fast forward just seven years and the idea of running came creeping in.  A different friend asked about a race and I really had no reason to say no...and it was post baby number two so I thought I'd give it a go.  I remember sitting at my computer and mapping out routes through my neighborhood.  My first training plans started with two mile runs.  Two miles that were probably the most dreadful and lung burning runs I have ever had.  I have zero clue how fast or slow I was running.  I never felt amazing during the process.  I checked the boxes each day and that was probably the most exciting part.  Having this plan that I was supposed to follow made it a little bit more manageable and having a training partner to do it with was key.  Although he was not suffering as much as I was in the process he was still there for our weekly runs.  I was not a runner but just a girl that was following a running plan.

I think after I finished my first few races my hubby bought me a runner girl sticker for my car.  I still had not felt worthy of putting it on my car.  I was not a multi time marathoner, I was not fast, I was not out there every day.  I was a mom trying to stay sane with her growing family and trying to keep her fitness in check while maybe discovering a passion along the way...uncovering a stronger, more confident girl.  I was a matter what distance or pace...still a runner.  No matter how many races you have completed or not get up and you lace your shoes, and you run...therefore you are a runner.  

We often don't know what we love until we lose it.  I have yet to lose running to an injury or overall burnout but I can tell you as I have become more immersed into running the days that I take for a rest I go a little stir crazy...I look forward to my run (most days.)  I love the release that the run gives me.  I love that I know it is something that I can hopefully always have.  I love that my family will be active with me during my runs whether biking along side of me, cheering as I do loops on our street or push a jogger along side me.  I love that they don't begrudge my run but embrace it as well.  I love my relationship with running and who it has molded me into.  I love that it has made me a stronger me which allows me to be a stronger mom and partner in crime.

I know that running is not for everyone.  I don't think one has to set a goal of running 2000 miles in a year..that was a crazy 2016 for me...but I do think it's worth a try.  Not a toe in the water and run away because it's not magical the first time you do it.  There are days where I don't feel the run until mile 2 or 3 or sometimes not as all.  On those days though I still feel so much better than if I didn't do it at all.  For me, I wanted something for just me...another identity...something I could find myself in and dive into a community of people that love the craziness of it all as well.  I love that we all have crazy running idiosyncrasies that make us just plan awesome.  I love that we support every person at every level and encourage you to try something different or push harder on a day where you wanted to throw in the towel.  I love how strong I feel after a race or a hard training run and know that I did that and I can do even more.

girl in orange 2000
So from this girl...the one that didn't want to run even if someone was chasing me...I am a runner...and have been since day one of trying.  I didn't know that this passion was within me until I just knew...I love this...all of it.  The chaffing, the nasty tasting gels, the cold wind in my face, the darkness and silence of an early morning run, the moment when I am running with a friend and I realize our stride is in perfect sync.  

Nothing changes if nothing changes.  Do something different, get uncomfortable, try something new.  You never know, you might just find your passion, a new side of you, something that will lead you to amazing people.

Embrace the suck...choose don't know until you try.

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