The first time I remember wanting to be a runner I was about 12 or 13. It seemed like such a cool thing to do – put your sneakers on and a pair of nylon, fluorescent colored shorts (it was the 80s) and just GO. I was infatuated with the idea, but, as I’ve come to learn about romantic infatuations, the reality didn’t measure up to the fantasy.
It was early fall and dark in the morning when I left my house to run down the dirt road we lived on. The air was fresh, but my gasping made my lungs feel tight not wonderfully expanded as I had imagined. The distance I attempted, perhaps a third of a mile, felt endless and I found myself walking, not running. I gave up. Obviously, running was not going to be my sport.
35 years later, I’m registered to run a trail half marathon this weekend. How did that happen?
- I learned that sometimes small steps, be it at a walking stride or a running pace, are the way to make progress.
- I realized that running is a challenge that I find satisfying. It feels good to push myself.
- I’ve accepted that there are some runs that turn into walks and that that’s ok. Life isn’t a race and I am committed to enjoying the journey.
- I have a posse of running friends who inspire and encourage me.
- I now know that for every step which feels difficult, there are 10 steps that feel amazing. I’m no mathematical genius, but that adds up for me in a positive way.
- Most importantly, while I didn’t initially know how hard running was going to be, I also had no idea how incredibly happy a good run would make me feel.
- I know now. I’m a runner.