My running journey is really two fold. I started running my junior year in high school after I moved to Colorado. Not on a team or anything, just purely for fitness and to enjoy the crisp mountain air. Fast forward to my senior year; I blow out my knee. Hmmm…. that sounded a bit more dramatic than it was – let me try again. I tore my MCL, had to go to physical therapy for a few months, and then had to wear a horrible, ugly, huge knee brace for what seemed like forever. People, listen to your body! Don’t ignore warning signs or you’ll end up sidelined.
Over the years I half-heartedly attempted to run again but quickly abandoned any attempts at the first sign of discomfort. My mind was like a record player telling my that I was going to injure myself again if I pushed it. I stayed semi active through other activites (biking, yoga, fitness DVDs) but always felt unsatisfied. Finally last summer I had the ‘ah-ha’ moment and realized that if I’m going to mess my knee up I might as well mess it up doing something I enjoyed!
After a few weeks (and I mean like three weeks) of ‘running’ on the treadmill at the gym, I signed up for my first 5k. Looking back, I have no idea what I was thinking when I signed up to run a 5k in July…in Southern Mississippi….in 90 degree heat…without any training. Let’s just say it wasn’t pretty. Not only was I slow, but I tweaked my knee by stepping in a small pothole. I went home, iced my knee (and my pride) and considered the merits of giving up – again. I was so discouraged; however, after a few days of sulking I put my big girl panties on and hit the gym. Discouraged had turned in to determined.My 2nd5k (Thumbs up for Bill) was 4 months later and went much better. It was after Thumbs up for Bill my friends Stacey and Lorena and myself became running buddies. BOOM! Running buddies = instant accountability & motivation. We started running together in December and less than 4 months later completed our 1st½ marathon! Woot-woot! I’m still not speedy by any means, my 5k PR is 27:25 and my 1/2 marathon PR is 2:14:47. Racing isn’t only about the time; it’s about enjoying the training, friendships, and the sport itself. I’ve been running in between 20-25 miles a week for the past 6 months and I’m lost without my Saturday long run. I can’t really remember what it was like to sleep in and I wouldn’t change that for anything!
The most wonderful part is that through this journey I feel like I’ve regained a part of myself that I thought was gone forever. After my brother was killed, I had a really hard time. The best way I can describe myself would be like a china doll that had been cracked and super glued back together. I was myself, but not really. This past year has really freed me of a lot of emotional baggage that I was carrying around and I finally feel whole again. Roger and I used to run together and I somehow feel closer to him; like I’m carrying a part of his spirit with me every time I hit the asphalt. In October I will be running the Marine Corps Marathon, my first marathon (yikes!!), in honor of his sacrifice. I know it’s going to be emotional but it’s also going to be equally amazing. Am I worried about injuring myself? Somewhat, but I feel confident that I won’t.