The Day I Fell In Love With Running

I ‘m one of those people who smile in their race photos. You know, the ones that get used for the next year’s website or Facebook promo (yes, its happened to me more than once and no, I didn’t get paid royalties for them). They are usually incredibly cheesy pictures but I can’t help it, I love it.

Recently I had a work out that was half a mile repeats at marathon goal pace. That mile pace used to be impossible for one single mile, let alone 26.2. But alas, time has passed and as I was pushing along I couldn’t help but think about a few friends, and a sister, who will be running their first half marathon this spring. I tried to put myself back in those shoes and let all those first time feelings come back.

The nervous anticipation.

The “I just want to finish” goal.

And the ever present “can I really run that extra 3 miles if I only trained up to 10?!” question mark.

The answer, of course, is YES! You can. But believing that can be tough when it will be the longest distance you have EVER run.

My first half marathon was in Dallas, Texas. I lived an hour and half away from the race but didn’t have any where closer to stay. So, a few brave and faithful friends woke up with me, very early, to arrive with enough time for me to pick up my bib and get to the start line. I’m pretty sure we left somewhere around 4:30am…maybe earlier. I had a lot of adrenaline. These weren’t exactly “running” friends, just good friends, so as they waved me off and headed out to find McDonalds and coffee, I stood there in a crowd of over 10,000 runners and started welling up with feelings toward a sport I had never known before.

The atmosphere, the people, the excitement, the camaraderie.

I didn’t feel alone and I didn’t care that I knew absolutely no one else there. I wasn’t even sure I would be able to find my friends afterwards but that didn’t matter at the time. I was about to run the farthest I had ever run (in a cotton tee shirt and maroon shorts and a pair of Asics that were probably too old), and I felt proud in the best sense of the word.

I wasn’t a runner in high school. I played a little soccer, not overly competitive, and I HATED Indian Runs (where the last person in line has to sprint to the front and you just keep repeating it until the coach says stop). And yet, there I was, at the end of 3 months of solo training in which I had done nothing more than what Hal Higdon’s novice 1 plan had told me. I didn’t practice eating on the run or drinking Gatorade, I hadn’t bought new shoes, and I didn’t have a time goal. I just wanted to finish.

I did finish. I crossed the finish line at around 2 hours, 12 minutes, walked around until I eventually found my friends in the post race concession area, and never took a photo with the finish line. But some where within those 13.1 miles, waving to spectators, thanking the volunteers at the water stops, and having someone put a medal (that I no longer can find) around my neck I fell in love with the sport of running.

And so since that April day in Dallas, and hopefully for a long time to come, I will continue to smile in race photos. 

6 thoughts on “The Day I Fell In Love With Running

    1. You can do it girl!That used to be me. My first 5k was a Race for the Cure and it felt like a huge accomplishment. Keep pushing, you will get there!

      Liked by 1 person

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