In 2003 I ran my first 5K in a time of 29:09. I placed first in my age group. Know why? Because every other 3rd grader was sleeping like a normal person.
My dad became a runner a couple of years before that, and so naturally, I thought I needed to become one too. I begrudgingly ran some 5Ks, slumping through each mile because I hated running. It was simply a thing that my dad did. I wanted to do it because he did it. It gave us this really cool thing in common. We could run together, although he would always be much faster than me.
When I got into high school, I realized that I liked to do hard things. I liked doing the things that people gawked at. The things they said, “there’s no way I could do that.” So I signed up for the Indianapolis Mini Marathon (13.1 miles). This race turned into 3 half marathons in 5 weeks. Mind you, as a sophomore in high school, my training had consisted of running here and there and only running about 7-10 miles on a long day. That’s some terrible training. And I paid for it.
I’ll never forget that in my second half marathon, a much more experienced runner asked me if I was ok because my breathing was so terrible. I assured her I was fine and told her that I was just an idiot for signing up for a race like this.
Motivated to go run yet?
But I’ll never forget finishing my first half marathon. I called everyone I could and told them that I’d done it. I’d finished. It wasn’t in an arrogant way. It was in a “holy-cow-what-did-I-just-do-and-will-my-legs-ever-feel-normal-again” kind of way.
And now I’ve moved on to an even harder thing. My dad and I are running the Chicago Marathon together on October 12. And every time I finish a long weekend run, I sit in a tub of ice and think “holy-cow-what-did-I-just-do-and-will-my-legs-ever-feel-normal-again.” It’s incredibly difficult. Yet, for the first time, I’m actually considering myself a runner. It’s weird. My dad was always the runner. I was like the little kid who ran with him during the last hundred yards of a race.
Me? A Runner?
This story, this page on my blog is dedicated to simply passing along things I’ve learned and am learning about and while I run. I wouldn’t trade the kind of conversations that can happen on a run. And I wouldn’t trade the endurance and determination that I’ve gained by running. There are some afternoons after I finish a run that I would definitely trade some of that…but that usually goes away in about 24 hours.
Today I run not because my dad does it. I don’t run because I want to do something others simply gawk at.
I run because of how running shapes me.
I run because of how it is molding my mind.
I run because of what it is teaching me about my relationship with God.
I run because of the silence it allows for God to speak.
So, yup. I’m a runner.