Wednesday, June 1, 2011

National Running Day

Running changed my life.

I took up runnign during a time that nothing seemed to be going right.  It was something I could do where I was the one in control, and not something or someone else.  In spite of myriad chronic health issue that will plague me for the rest of my life, I could still run.

I had never liked running before, but that didn't matter.  I was going to conquer this.

My goal at first was a 5K.  3.1 miles.  That was all I wanted to do.  I did notice that I felt good on the days that I ran.  Better than I had in a long, long time.  But I was going to stop at 5K.  Anything else was excessive, right?

Then I started visiting online running forums.

A funny thing happened on the way to the forums...

I started reading about people running 10K (6.2 mile) races.  And half marathons - 13.1 miles.  And (gasp!) marathons!  26.2 miles, all at once!  Were they freaking nuts?

But I thought about it, and something clicked for me.  Even as I wondered about my new found cyber friends' sanity, I began to think about longer distances.  I can't pinpoint exactly when I came over to the dark side, but I think it was right around the time I became hopelessly, irrevocably addicted to the endorphins I was producing, otherwise known as runner's high.

Maybe I would do a 10K sometime.  Maybe...someday...after years of running...a half marathon.  Maybe...

Okay, now I'm freaking nuts.

Well, long story short:  6 months after I started running, I ran my first 5K.  Just before my 1 year running anniversary, I ran my first half marathon.  I'm planning to run my first marathon this November, less than 2 years into my running career.  And I'm looking forward to more endurance challenges, like ultra marathons (anything longer than 26.2 miles) and Disney's Goofy Challenge (a half marathon one day and a marathon the next day, sounds like fun!!).

And one of the best things about all of this is that my beloved has taken up running, too.  He ran the 5K by my side.  He couldn't do the half marathon because of shoulder surgery, but cheered me from the sidelines.  And we are now training together for our first marathon.  Now, that's true love!

To celebrate National Running Day, I went out for a quick run this morning.  My beloved and I normally run together on Tuesdays and Thursdays, so this was just a little symbolic, celebratory jaunt.  I went to a park close by our house, where there's a short looping path.  I often walk there, and so do many other people.  Today, one of the walkers flagged me down.  Being the courteous type, I stopped, to see what I could do for her.

She gave me a look that I think of as "grandmotherly."  You've seen it, that smug, condescending, "you're far too stupid to figure this out on your own, so I have to spell it out for you" look.  Like a grandmother looks.

"You know," she said, "it's better for your joints to walk briskly than to run."

Ha!  That made me laugh so hard, I could barely finish my run...

Happy National Running Day!

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