Before this time last year I would have never called myself athletic (although I am sure using that term in reference to myself is still a bit on the exaggerated side), and before two and a half years ago, I wasn’t a huge fan of the outdoors. Unless it was a beach. I am always a fan of the beach. Wait a second, why did I move to a land-locked state again?
I digress. I grew up very much appreciating the great indoors and general cleanliness. Growing up in Texas I learned early on that ladies don’t sweat. But if we must, we glisten and glow. Gym was merely a class I suffered through. My summers were spent submerged in a pool, or dying of heat at band camp. Neither particularly profound in the art of athleticism, at least in my case. Once I moved to Colorado, I realized that the entire world is not actually one big orb of humidity, and that living 5,426 feet above sea level significantly reduces the amount of insects. Granted I now have bears and mountain lions to contend with, but this issue is so far proving to be manageable.
Until this time last year, I would never have pegged myself as one who would someday dream of running a half marathon, let alone fly across the country just for that purpose. I tended to scoff at those wacky runners and their 13.1 or 26.2 stickers (is it miles or kilometers, and who measures in kilometers here?). So silly, I thought. You aren’t running from something, or even necessarily towards something, so why are you doing it? Hiking was about as far as I would go, and that had a very intentional purpose of seeing the natural beauty that surrounded me. Then a switch in my brain flipped and I said to myself, “Self, let’s run the BOLDERBoulder 10K this May. Just for funsies. Okay? Okay.” And that was that.
I may or may not have secretly signed up my husband. He was thrilled. Now he is my favorite running partner (thanks honey!), and we’ll be running the BOLDERBoulder again this year.
Since then I have acquired a love (sometimes love-hate) of running. Being able to get outside, especially on those absolute perfect days (anywhere between 55 and 65 degrees, light breeze, sun shining) and just have an overwhelming sense of accomplishment… There’s nothing quite like it. I didn’t understand the concept of a runner’s high until recently. And now it’s all I can think about during the week. I look forward to the weekend, knowing I that all I need to do is throw on my shoes, grab my “Sea Level is for Sissies” visor (oh yeah, you want one), and go. I will literally check the weather all week long to determine how amazing my run will be. It doesn’t matter that I will just be running one big circle and coming straight back home. It’s the connection to yourself, your breath, your heart, the pavement beneath your feet, and the sensation of overcoming a challenge that feels utterly phenomenal. Don’t get me wrong, I still have days when I ask myself, “Self, why am I doing this again?” But typically I will get one great mile in and come to my senses.
Recently I read an article from the Wall Street Journal, which I am sure many of you will recall, that really made me ponder my newfound love of running. Or jogging with enthusiasm, as I like to call it. This particular article received a lot of heat from the running community and elicited a very poignant response from Runner’s World. I felt conflicted, because I could absolutely understand both sides of the argument. I had so recently converted, that I distinctly remember some of the notions that Mr. Stafko expresses. I was that person constantly wondering why any human being would want to force themselves to run for long distances, often in awful weather, for no apparent reason other than enjoyment (obviously there are health considerations involved, but these people really enjoyed it). And now I cannot imagine not having a race to look forward to. So all I have to say to this point is that it’s not for everyone, but until you try it, you’ll never know!
So here I am, less than a month away from my first half marathon, the Disney Princess Half Marathon to be exact. My best friend and I are in it together, and it will be the best first half marathon ever! Mostly for the tutus… In just 3 months from now I will be joining some of my favorite ladies of all time for the Nike Women’s Half Marathon back home in DC, and yes, we will be wearing matching shirts. Why? Because we’re adorable like that. To cap it off, my friend Samantha and her hubby are flying out to Colorado for the BOLDERBoulder this May. In this I am truly honored and excited. I am daunted just to run, but coming from sea level to a mile high is no small feat. And she didn’t even bat an eye at the thought. Did I mention she’s partly my running inspiration?
Long story long, I think I have found something that motivates me, challenges me, and inspires me. Whatever your muse is, take it and run with it!