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Meet Me At The Starting Line: Journal Jog

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.

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.
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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.
Wait, what?
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!
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About Anna Thornley

Anna Thornley
Anna Thornley is a Jersey Girl living in the Wild West with her husband, their three children (with another one on the way) and two dogs. She desperately misses the beach and humidity but tries to remember to appreciate the beauty of the mountains. She works full-time outside of the home and is generally frantic in her attempts to keep everyone (and everything) moving in the right direction. Her house is a mess, but everyone in it is happy and loved—so she considers it a success. Anna spends almost all of her free time doing laundry. Her family loves to spend time together watching football and playing outside. Anna is still trying to come to terms with the fact that her family expects to eat dinner every single night. Follow Anna on Twitter to keep up with all her family’s antics: @rudeytudeymama

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