I’m sitting in my running clothes as I write this post about running. I’m waiting for the blistering Iowa sun to go down a touch in hopes the humidity will too and I can hit the streets with a bit of cool. Even though it was 108 degrees in Vegas, it’s got nothing on this midwestern humidity.
In my last blog post I mentioned that my dear friend wants to run a half marathon, which I agreed to do. Let me walk you through my love/hate relationship with running in order to arrive at how I agreed to get to this stage—that of training for my first half-marathon.
When I was in high school I hated running. I joined the soccer team for the sole reason that my sister asked me to. She was already an established soccer superstar and she wanted to have the opportunity of playing the same sport while we were in school together. Making memories—you get it. No illusions here, people, I was not a good soccer player. Nevermind that I’d played indoor on and off. Everything in outdoor soccer was different: the field size, no walls, my really good opponents and practice. Early on, I loathed soccer practice. I wasn’t really used to running all that much (or burpees or working out). We ran a.lot and even though I spent most of my time not scoring goals and sitting on the bench, I did learn to appreciate the exercise aspect associated with practice and consequently with running. After my brief stint with soccer, I continued running occasionally. After a break for a few years I started back up by running with the same dear friend who wants to run the half. We’d run the steps at Nippert Stadium or run after hours on the track field at UC.
After a time we both ended up back at home in Northeast Ohio. We’d run the streets or at the dam (where all the local runners go). I completed my first 5k which was a pretty big deal at the time. Then my relationship with running changed completely. I met someone who propelled my occasional running to something much more serious; it became a passion. I ran because that’s what you do when you’re together with a runner. I started reading magazines about it and articles on the internet. I bought some official looking gear and got my first iPod Shuffle. I started spending more time and money on running shoes. I got a Camelback as a gift. I’d run on my own, I’d run at the gym, we’d run together in the blazing summer heat. I began wearing headbands to mop up the sweat from my brow on longer running days. I loved running. Then the best thing happened—my sister joined in. Then her husband. Running became more than just running for me. It became something I did with the people I loved and it became quality time that I really treasured. Running with my sister was a way for us to reconnect. She’d talk and talk and talk while I ran beside her, forgetting my discomfort by listening to her words. Running has been a part of my life, sometimes large and sometimes small, for the last decade.
I look at where I am now and I’ve never been less involved in my passion. I’ve never run alone, it’s always been as part of a team. I’ve never had to ignite this fire on my own. I recognize that and I want to change it. What better way to change it than to sign up for a half-marathon (okay, there are probably better ways but I say ‘go big’). This is definitely a mountain sized goal for me and not one I take lightly. There’s beauty to me in the notion of doing what our bodies are designed to do. We’re designed to move, so move I shall. I know what I want and tonight starts the training to get there.