Time for a flashback. Cue smoke
It’s 3:45pm and my track coach tells us to go run a lap around our dirt track in rural Nebraska. I walk out out gym door dragging my feet while complaining about having to run when all I do is shot put and discus.
As a senior in high school was well over 200lbs and pretty much gave up on any athletic goal I ever had.
I jog 100 meters, look around for coach Hunt, then sprint across the infield to the other side. I walk back into the gym for stretching trailing the rest of the team.
I’m breathing heavy not realizing my “cheat” way was probably harder than just jogging. I had a chip on my shoulder the size of a boulder and I sure as heck was never going to be a runner.
I was NEVER going to be a runner and if you compare me to most others I still am not. I don’t have long lean legs.
My stride is about as supple as a platypus. My feet are flat and while I hate to admit it I have knock knees. It pains me to run a sub 10 minute mile. Slow as molasses and I’ve learned to be okay with that.
Yet, I ran marathon just to see if I could and I changed my life in the process.
In January 2011 I found myself with a lot of free time and in need of some inspiration. I picked up an incredible book called Born To Run.
It’s one of the very few books that I’ve read completely and I finished it in a week.
Now, if you have ADHD or know someone who does you know this is rare. (I’ve always wanted to be able to get caught up in a book but couldn’t, it sucks.)
Born To Run was full of every kind running story and I absorbed it like a sponge.
When I finished the book I began to run more. I had dreams of running marathons and ultra marathons, but life got in the way. I would run often but never more than 8 miles.
In April 2013 I hadn’t run in months but after a 2-mile run I was feeling pretty empowered.
I sent a text to my friend Tiffany immediately and let her know that I was signing up to run Chicago marathon with her. I mean, why not? It just 26.2 miles.
Uh yeah, was I wrong there. It was hundreds of miles of training runs. It was 4am early dark morning runs.
It was schedules being adjusted due to runs. It was driving my route the night before to drop off water and snacks, obsessed runs.
It was multiple pairs of shoes, inserts, and foam rollers. It was shin splints, plantar fasciitis, and hip flexors so tight I could walk with a normal stride.
I took every ounce of love that I had for running and I stomp all over it day after day for six months.
Crazy thing is I loved it! My favorites were my long Saturday runs with my brother Josh’s girlfriend.
Her and I on the road for hours gave me ample time to see why Josh loves her. We would talk, probably mostly me talking, until about mile 10 then just run in silence.
When I wanted to give up she’d encourage me and I’d do the same for her. It’s a great bonding experience and I am eternally grateful I was able to share it with her.
The actual marathon was indeed the hardest thing I have ever done. Anyone who knows me knows that I’m not a fan of crowds.
Running for 5 hours in a crowd of 30,000 people was almost enough to send me over the edge.
People everywhere! If I wasn’t trying to maneuver around someone in front of me I was stopping and tripping someone behind me.
It was an accident waiting to happen. I also made the mistake of drinking the Gatorade and once I started I couldn’t stop. Every water stop I was downing two to three cups of the sweet nectar like I had never drank before.
I knew it was a bad idea but I couldn’t resist. About mile 13 I developed a side stitch that stayed with me the remainder of the 26 miles.
I had to alternate frequently between running and walking. It was the most pain I had ever experienced and that includes child birth, but I kept on running.
The six months of training and those five hours of running that day made me believe that I can do anything!
Now when a challenge comes my way I look at it in a different way. If I compare most things to the marathon it’s doable and I give it a try.
When they say a marathon will change your life they are right.
I’m thankful for the challenge, the pain, and all the small victories that it brought me. I try things (like boxing) that I wouldn’t of attempted.
Mainly because NOTHING can be as painful as running 26.2 miles when your me.
This year I’m planning on running Twin Cities and I am excited for a summer full of adventures. I need to find someone to run and train with me.
Until then I’m training for the Cannon Falls duathlon on April 26. Time to get my cardio in check.