Sunday, February 3, 2013

Running: Where It All Began

Looking back over the years running has been a huge part of my daily life.  Much of my life has been spaced out on a timeline using running milestones to place other events around.  This event occurred after my first 5K.  I did that when training for my first marathon.    As I wrack my brain thinking back to where it all began, I can’t pinpoint an exact day, but I can pinpoint vague memories and distant thoughts running through my brain.  

It all started with my dad.  Watching him lace up his shoes, strap on his watch, and head out the door.  Not totally understanding where he was going or what he was doing but knowing he had “gone for a run”.  You may be thinking I would watch him and think in my head, I wanna be like daddy, I’m gonna run.  Totally not the case, I wasn’t interested in this thing he was doing, but I watched, I learned, I didn’t understand.  It didn’t matter, the seed was planted.  A seed that would later grow into something I never would have expected.  

Although my mom wouldn’t start running herself until years later, she always exercised too.  Her form of exercise came not just in wrangling 3 children all day long, but also through those great 80’s aerobics videos.  Cue women with permed hair and side ponies wearing leotards and leg warmers on mats lifting weights and breaking a sweat.  Now this was a form of exercise my young mind could get into.  Leotards, heck yes!  I would go in the living room, get on the floor, and work it along with my mom.  Unknowingly I was being conditioned by my parents.  I was being conditioned to believe exercise was important.  I was learning from the most important teachers in my life that exercising and being healthy is an important part of life.  Hence my current belief that parents leading by example when it comes to exercise is the best way to get children moving.  This is the reason why I will always share running with Carter by taking him along on a run in the stroller or watching family members compete in races.

My first vivid memory of running is from around 4th grade.  My dad and older brother, Jeremy, were running a 5K, Jeremy’s first and dad was running it with him.  There was a kid’s fun run, one lap around the track (400 meters), before the 5K which my younger brother, Thomas, and I both participated in.  We ran our lap around the track and waited in line to receive participation medals.  Then we stood in the stands watching Jeremy and dad begin the 5K.  Many non-runners and runners alike may remember a time in their lives where they thought, running is stupid and I will never do it.  Here was that moment for me.  I remember wondering why Jeremy wanted to run 3 whole miles and that I would never do such a thing.

Fast forward to 6th grade P.E. class, picture an awkward pre-teen with braces standing on a cinder track, waiting to begin the dreaded mile for the Presidential Physical Fitness Test.  That was the day when everything would change.  When I would decide maybe running was for me.  I ran the whole mile without stopping, something not many of the kids could do.  I finished before everyone else in my class, boys included.  As my P.E. teacher stood with a smile relaying my time as I crossed the finish, I memorized those numbers in my head.  I repeated and repeated them until I was sure they would stick.  I couldn’t wait until I got home to tell my dad how fast I was.  I knew these numbers, although just numbers to me, would mean something to my dad.  As I crossed that finish line I had come to a realization that this was something I was good at and, hey, maybe I even liked it!  Reference “Green Eggs and Ham”, my dad’s favorite book, in a roundabout way he was Sam I Am without ever saying a word.  I was totally against trying the green eggs and ham, but finally did and realized they weren’t that bad!

That day was followed by a first 5K run in the scorching summer heat on the 4th of July.  I wore the t-shirt everyone received in their race day packets with pride.  I ran a whole 5K, 3.1 miles!  So commenced the beginning of the rest of my running life which followed with middle school track, high school cross country and track, college cross country, training for and completing a half marathon and then a marathon.  Running has always come naturally to me and has become a huge part of my life.  So there was no doubt in my mind that I would continue to run the day I looked down at a stick laying on our bathroom counter with the word “pregnant” boldly displayed.  That day a new chapter of my running life began.  This chapter void of PRs, but full of triumphs.  And that is where my story begins.

If you are a runner, how did you get your start?
Just for fun, this is a picture of me (in black) racing during middle school track.

No comments:

Post a Comment