I was able to go on a 7am run today and it was heavenly! My running buddies know that running at 5:30 or 6am is not my favorite, but it's what works and I love running with my friends, so it is worth it! However, I love running in the light of day and being able to enjoy the beauty and quirks of my small town. I had on music in the background and it was just me and my thoughts. I realized that it was 10 years ago this week that I began my journey to become a runner. (I didn't know that's what I would become!) I had just had my first baby in February of 2002 and I had signed up for a crazy, fun race called Hood to Coast. I always thought people were nuts who ran it, but when my work paid for the team, gas for the vans and all the food, and even provided a training plan for beginners, I thought it was a perfect way to trick myself into getting back into shape.
I began running exactly 6 weeks after having Dallin. The race was almost 6 months away and the training plan was a very gradual increase of miles from 5 miles per week to 18-24 miles per week. It was perfect for me. I remember driving around my neighborhood and plotting out a 1 mile course. (Before the days of MapMyRun and/or my Garmin!) I thought for sure I would be able to run a mile. I was wrong, of course and could only run about a quarter mile. I didn't let that deter me and I just kept going every other day and watched my progress with excitement. It was the first time I was taught the hard/easy philosophy of running and it is what I still use to this day.
Our team needed a 5k time in order to guess what our team's finish time would be so I ran my first race in May. I remember being pleasantly surprised that my time was faster than my fastest time in high school. This tells you that I was not the best cross country runner (only ran one year!) and also that I had more in me than I realized at the time. (As my dad would say, if I would have tried to run instead of chatting with everyone, I would have been faster!)
My actual experience at Hood to Coast was not my favorite(that will have to be another post, but it has to do with breastfeeding and being in a van for 24 hours!), but the journey there was awesome! I continued to run and after my second baby tackled the marathon. I have had many ups and downs in my road of running (pun intended!), but when it comes down to it, I truly love it. I love being outside, I love being on my own (when it's not dark!), I love running with friends and having my morning therapy, I love setting and accomplishing goals, I love getting back up when I don't reach my goals, I love feeling alive.
Thanks for reliving my journey with me. I hope to have many, many more years of running. (And I still want to qualify for Boston!)