Saturday, August 1, 2009

why do I run

Last night I got ambitious on Facebook and friended a few people that I barely knew from high school. One was a guy that I had a major crush on. He's a few years older than me and I was shy in high school. He was a cute, cool, smart, football player. I just admired him from afar. So after I sent the friend request he sent me an email. Amongst other things, he asked me how I got into running. So, in case you're wondering, this is my story...

I started running because of .... you guessed it... a boy. One summer of my early high school years (8th or 9th grade) my family went on vacation to Panama City Beach for a week. I met a guy there from Berrien County which is about 45 minutes from where I lived. We exchanged phone numbers and addresses, but back then kids didn't make long-distance calls. We wrote to each other several times and he said he ran track. He told me the date that his track team would be coming to my high school for a track meet. I went to watch him in the track meet the following spring. He was so cute! Since my high school would be going to his high school the following year for the track meet, I joined the track team so I could see him again. I've always been athletic, playing softball most of my youth, so running came naturally. I quickly forgot about him, but loved running. I ran track and cross country in high school. I wasn't fast, but I loved it! My grandfather died on my brother's birthday when I was in 10th grade. I didn't find out until after I had returned home from the out-of-town track meet in which I had run my best yet. He had died earlier in the day and I asked my mom why she didn't come to school and tell me before the track meet. She said that Papa would have wanted me to enjoy my track meet so she waited until I got home. In hindsight, I'm glad she waited.

I was already on the track team when Jeff moved to town. I can't remember if we started dating before or after track season, but he ran too. We used to go up to the track at night and run together. We usually did our own individual work outs rather than running at the same pace. Mr. Polhamous would be there sometimes pole vaulting and occassionally there were other walkers or joggers. If we were lucky, we'd be alone after dark...

I ran for stress relief during college and to keep in shape for Ultimate frisbee. I ran to stay in shape up until I had problems becoming pregnant. My OB said maybe if I added some body fat, my problems would resolve. I cut back on my mileage, gained some weight and it worked! After my daughter was born, my then-husband bought me a jogging stroller for Christmas. I had gained so much weight that it was difficult to run, but I started out slow and did an unstructured run/walk with Kyra in the stroller. But I had difficulty finding the time to go running because I was so exhausted being a new mom. I started running hard again as my marriage was falling apart. I guess it's just been a life-long passion that gets me through the tough times.

I started training for my first marathon after breaking up with the most significant relationship after my marriage, but I tore my ACL and meniscus doing something stupid (jumping on the trampoline) and that sidelined my running for a while. I was so depressed when I couldn't run for months after surgery. But I hung in there and slowly began jogging again. I registered for another marathon (Sarasota), but hurt my meniscus again and had to drop down to the half-marathon instead. I finally ran my first marathon last October and I'll be doing my second one, with two friends, in 10 weeks. I'm slow, but enjoy just getting out there and enjoying nature. If I lost 20 pounds I'm sure it would make a huge difference in my speed, but the more I run, the hungrier I am, the more I eat, and the pounds aren't falling off. Vicious cycle.

So, why do I run now? Because I love getting out there and enjoying nature, even urban nature... It's a great escape!

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