I have never really considered myself a runner. I was a Division I soccer player so I’ve done plenty of running, don’t get me wrong, but I never considered myself a runner. Like, I never went out and ran for fun. My running was always combined with chasing a ball or else someone was blowing a whistle at me or otherwise forcing me to run. That was my relationship with running for a good 36 years.
Meet Me At The Starting Line: Journal Jog
A couple times after college I tried to get into the whole “running for exercise” thing but it never quite worked out. I was always miserable and definitely never achieved the whole “runner’s high” that I’d hear other people talk about. So, to avoid having to find a way to combat the weight-related-consequences of aging, I just decided to keep having babies as a means to avoid any and all exercise. It seemed reasonable to me at the time so I kept it up for nearly a decade. Eat, have babies, and never exercise. It was a clear recipe for success.
But then I was finally finished having babies and I was still getting older and, much to my chagrin, I was not getting any thinner just by sitting around and eating Twizzlers. Plus, turns out that kids are SUPER annoying and, as a mom, you’ll do, like, anything to get away from them. I know that’s not you. You love your children and would never call them annoying and you treasure every blessed moment you get to spend with them. And to that, I say – good for you. For me though, my kids are a-noy-ing. And I found myself in need of a stress-relieving activity that was more socially acceptable than yelling at them all. the. time.
I considered my options and will save you the boring details of how and why I came to my decision and I’ll just tell you that I decided I was going to give running another shot. So off I went. I was a solid 35 pounds overweight and hadn’t done any serious running since…like…2003, probably. But I was determined to get my sweat on. So I downloaded the Couch to 5K app and forced myself to finish the whole thing. I never planned on actually running a 5K. I NEVER thought I would CHOOSE to run 3 miles. Never. That wasn’t me.
But then one day, a friend who is a serious runner (he’s done the Boston Marathon more than once and runs like a 3-minute mile or something insane like that) asked if I wanted to run the Reno Mile last year. I think he gave me less than a week’s notice. “Everyone can run a mile,” is what he told me. And he left it at that. And I’m nothing if not insanely competitive so I sat around thinking for a few days that of course, I can run a mile. Right? I can run a mile, can’t I? I hadn’t purposefully run a mile, for time, in more than a decade. It seemed like now was a good a time as any to sprint down Virginia Street to prove to myself that I could run a mile. Sure, why not.
So that’s what I did. And, you guys, I thought my lungs were going to explode. I thought I was going to DIE!
But I didn’t.
And then, on a whim, I decided that I both could and should get up the following morning and run the Journal Jog. So I hightailed it that afternoon to the late signup and got myself ready to run an 8K. I hadn’t planned on ever running a 5K and suddenly I found myself signed up for an 8K. I had NEVER purposely run 5 miles before in my life. (I think an 8K is technically 4.97 miles but I’m into rounding up and 5 miles just sounds better than, “I ran 4.97 miles.” No one says that). And I had just almost died running 1 mile so running 5 miles the following day just seemed like the next logical step (if your definition of logical and galactically stupid are the same). But! I got up the next morning and I ran the whole 8K. It wasn’t fast, it wasn’t pretty; but I did it. And, I had fun!
And that’s how I came to still not think of myself as a runner.
Still when people ask if I’m a runner, my initial response is no. Why? Because I don’t run marathons. Because I don’t run fast. Because I am not “serious” about running. Whatever all of that means. I guess a more accurate answer is yes. I am a runner. And you should be too! So sign up for the Reno Mile and/or the Journal Jog. I’ll see you at the start line and I’ll give you a high five!