Tuesday, October 16, 2012

My Running Story

I started running about seven years ago in the fall of 2005. My very first 5k was a Turkey Trot two years later on Thanksgiving Day. Since then I have ran 3 5ks, soon to be 3 half-marathons (my race is in less than 2 weeks), and 1 marathon. Running was not something that I have always loved. When I was in junior high, I decided that I wanted to be on the track team. I'm not really sure why, other than the fact that I was all about trying and doing everything. I was not very good. I ran the mile (which I remember being very disappointed about because I REALLY wanted to run the hurdles...which is pretty funny considering the fact that I hardly ever jumped over one without knocking it down). I remember my very first and last track meet. I ran the mile and I came in dead last. Yep, I was officially done with my running career...or so I thought. When I was in high school, I was on the tennis team. For our work-outs, we would have to run a mile lap around our school. I thought it was absolute torture. Occasionally in high school, I would go "running" in my neighborhood, but I'm pretty sure I would only go about 1/2 mile before calling it quits. Now fast forward to 2005. I had just had Cloey and I was desperate to get my baby weight off. So, I decided to start "running" again. I was very slow and I'm pretty sure that I walked way more than I ever ran, but before too long, I was actually starting to enjoy it. Once we moved to Asheville, I got a little more serious about it. I started regularly running in the mornings and I would usually go about 2-3 miles at a time. I loved running in Asheville. It was absolutely gorgeous and with two small children at home, it became my escape. Then my grandpa (who was the greatest and most dedicated runner ever) got sick with leukemia, it was in our very last phone conversation before he passed away that I made an absolutely crazy promise to him. I told him that since he couldn't run anymore that I'd run for him, in fact, I'd even run a marathon for him someday. I couldn't believe the words had escaped my mouth, but they did and because they did I knew that I had a new goal. It was a little while later that I became good friends with Austyn, who was and always had been a serious runner. We started running together. I love the memories I have of running with her. We decided to run a half marathon together. A couple of weeks into our training, she found out that she and her husband would be moving to New York City for a job. I was so disappointed. She would be gone before the date of our half-marathon, so we decided to do one in Asheville right before she moved. We mapped out the course and made it all official. We even got matching shirts to wear. Her husband video-tapped the whole thing. He would drive to a location, shoot some video, give us gatorade and water, and then drive to the next spot and wait for us there. It was so sweet. Austyn sent me the video a little while after she moved. I love that video, it brings back so many great memories. Once Austyn moved, I found out I was pregnant with Clairisa so my running was put on hold. A little while later, we moved to Chattanooga. I didn't start running after losing Clairisa. In fact, I didn't start running again until after I had Makayla. I walked some in between Hailey and Makayla, but I never really got into running during that short time. After Makayla was born, I knew it was time again. I needed to get into it and I needed a friend to run with. Jenae had just moved into our ward and somehow (total inspiration) I knew that she was going to be my new running buddy. I asked her, she said yes, and our 5:30 am running adventure began. We started training for a half and then decided to go ahead and go all out and do a marathon. Stephanie joined in on our fun and the rest is history. Moving to Texas was hard for many reasons but one of the biggest reasons was losing my running partners. I really missed them and I hated running alone. But I did. I have continued running and I've even found some new great friends to run with here. Just last Wednesday, for our laurel activity, we began training as a class for a 5k that we are running together in December. The girls are so excited about it but they all have quite a ways to go. None of them are runners and they are all beginning at square one. As I ran with them, I realized how far I have come. I remember being where they are. I remember running 60 seconds and thinking I was going to die. I remember counting down the seconds until I could start walking again. I remember feeling completely overwhelmed by three miles. But, now here I am seven years later. I love running (except for recently because I've had HORRIBLE shin splints...I'm waiting for new shoes to come in the mail any day). I love the whole experience. I even enjoy running by myself. I listen to conference as I run, I listen to upbeat music, I think, I pray, I ponder, I do whatever it is I want to do. I love being a mother, but somedays are just plain hard, frustrating, monotonous, and never-ending. But, when I start my day out with a morning run, everything seems so much easier and much more manageable. It is my escape. It's funny how something that I used to think I could never do or never wanted to do, has become one of the things that I don't know how I could ever do without. So I'll continue running...running for my Grandpa, running for my children, and running for me.


Lew said...

Thank you, Melissa! I have started doing the couch to 5K program and I feel exactly like you did in your early days of running. I only hope to be where you are one day! This post was inspirational for me :-)

All Fun Family said...

I really wish you lived closer so you could help me get into running and be my running buddy.

Monica said...

I am not a natural runner, but it has become a part of me. I loved reading your story.

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