How it started
When I was in 5th grade my dad pulled up to the high school track field and I asked, “Where are we” and my dad (who isn’t much for words) said something along the lines of “Track practice. I’ll pick you up afterward.” I’m 99% sure I was still wearing the same shoes I wore to school that day.
Wait. Seriously? I’m going to run around a track? For fun?
YUP! 5th Grade is when my love for running started and I didn’t even know it.
I had NO idea what I was doing. My first race was the 200 meter “dash”. I hated it. Why? Because I lost. Every race I had that was short distance, I lost. Not even a participation ribbon was given out.
My friend Jen was on the track team with me and she was an athlete star. (Basketball, volleyball, soccer, etc.) She couldn’t make it to one of our track meets so I was assigned the 800 meter “run”. That’s 2 laps. I was used to racing only half of the track, and now you want me to run 2 full laps? Ok, I guess.
I will never forget this race. We started the race and all I knew was to “dash” and dash I did! I was so far out in front of the pack that everyone was probably concerned I was going to pass out. I looked behind me because no one was in front of me, and I was confused as to why everyone was running so slow. I just kept running as fast as I could the entire time. I didn’t know any other way to “run” or what “pacing myself” meant. I just kept looking over my shoulder the entire race. My coaches kept yelling at me to stop turning my head back and to focus on running forward and finish the race.
I won. I had never won a race before. I’ll never forget my coach coming up to me after the race and asking, “Why didn’t you tell us you were a distance runner?” Right… In 5th grade the only other sports I played had a time out, substitutes, half time, and water breaks. I had no idea was continuously running for over 8 minutes meant. I didn’t know the difference in races. I only knew that the shorter they were, I would lose, and I wanted to win.
It only got better from there. No one on the team liked running more than 200 meters besides me. That meant I was 1 of 4 other people on the team that ran the long distance races. The other 4 distance runners? They were boys. Yup. Me and the boys. Of course at the grade school level no one wants to run those races and they took the longest, so it was still divided by grade, but they combined boys and girls. I was winning against all those slow whimpy girls, I needed someone to chase after.
I guess they still weren’t challenging enough, because I beat them too. It wasn’t every race that I would beat them, but enough races that I could still tease them about “losing to a girl.”
When I went to high school I joined the cross country team. That meant scenery. No more black circle for numerous laps. Trees, sticks, mud, hills, and different courses every time.
My passion for running grew so deep that I started to do summer camps. There were camps for us runners where I would learn about “pace” and “splits” and what shoes helped with my “high arches” and “knocked knees”. It was 100% full of the weirdest people, but I was one of them. I fit in perfectly.
I received varsity letters all 4 years of high school in both Cross Country and Track. To this day I still hold one of the top 10 fastest records in cross country.
College I ran Cross Country and track as well. The length was longer and the courses were tougher. In track I learned about the steeple chase. I can’t even describe it to you. Please youtube “steeple chase races”. I varsity lettered my freshman year in both sports. Sophomore year in Cross Country I was awarded most improved athlete. I didn’t do track sophomore year. I had a campus job, I joined a sorority, I started the women’s ultimate frisbee team, as well as taking classes, social life, and boyfriends. Junior year was rocky and difficult for me and Cross Country. I still held a varsity letter, but I was not invited to varsity races. According to the coach I had to either “focus all my time on Cross country, or there wasn’t room on the team for me anymore.” I had quite a falling out with my teammates too. That hurt my motivation to stay on the team more than anything. I left the team after I ran a JV race and won by 3 whole minutes. I was furious that I wasn’t invited to the varsity races anymore.
I graduated and barely ran at all. I would see people who knew me from my popularity of being on the Varsity Cross Country Team and would ask how my running was going – I wouldn’t have much to say. “I’m taking a break right now” or “I don’t have the time anymore”. I could see the disappointment in their faces that I didn’t continue something that I was talented at doing. I felt like they were looking at me as if I was Picasso and just said that I stopped painting.
Whelp. I can’t say that motivated me enough. I didn’t start running again right away. It wasn’t even 2 years or 5 years. It’s been 11 years since I’ve run an actual race that I had trained for, and that I cared about winning or losing.
Wow. Writing those words. 11 years. What a waste of time. Over a decade of not doing something I’m born to do.
30. I’m Ready!
I read the book by Rachel Hollis “Girl, stop apologizing”. That book that gave me the strength to realize that who I am going to be is only determined by my own self. I don’t owe any explanations, and I definitely don’t need permission to pursue my dreams. While I was reading that book, it really hit me that I have never run a race outside of school that I trained all year for. My friends who hated running were training for marathons, and I would just meet them afterwards for the beer and live music.
I have decided that I am going to win a marathon. It’s not going to be tomorrow. It’s not going to be this year or next year. I’m going to train for a marathon over the next 5 (ish) years that I am going to win.
Training started on April 22nd 2019. The gun has gone off. (If you have never run a race before, or know nothing about races, they shoot a blank in the air to signal the start of the race.)
My favorite running quote of all time “Nice guys finish last, only if they are slow.”
Let’s do this.
Bernie has been a part of our family for over 5 years. Sluggo has been a part of our family for almost 10 months. These 2 have gone on my most recent runs with me. They enjoy the run probably more than me (at this point). Bernie has always run with me since he’s been in my life – he’s even run with me while I bike! (Not a good idea by the way).
Bernie’s favorite thing is to be on the leash outside of the yard. If he sees me change my clothes after work and then put on my running shoes, he will stay by my side the entire time I walk around the house. He does not want to miss out on his chance to go for a walk or run with me.
Bernie has always been the big brother. As you might remember Twin who lived with husband and me, she also had a dog and Bernie loves her so much ~ always best friends~ he saw Kota as a puppy and helped her along the way. He is the best with puppies.
Bernie with Sluggo he has been an amazing big brother. He has helped with the walks/run and showing how to handle the leash. Since Bernie is getting older he cannot handle as long of a run, but I still take him for a quick 10 minute hard run at the beginning, and then drop him off at home before Sluggo and I finish our workout.
Both of these boys have given me a reasons to get my shoes on, but also to push myself to finish the workout. They will run to the ends of the Earth with me and back. They won’t stop unless I do, and vice versa.
Who or what motivates you to push yourself? How can you continue to use that motivation every day?