Friday, September 24, 2010

a (sorta) runner is born

I remember very clearly when, in college, my friend asked me if I wanted to go on a run. Pfffttt yea, oookay. I actually replied, "Sorry dude, my body isn't built for running." I had grown up playing sports and while I was (barely) mediocre at soccer, swimming, tennis and basketball, I still enjoyed playing. Running was a means to an end; a way to chase down a short hop, or how to charge down the court for a lay-up. It wasn't until I had surgery for a torn ACL that the thought of running for fun even crossed my mind. Weird, right?  

Honestly, I don't know if I ever would have started running had it not been for the people who told me I never would. Insert two screws into my knee, give me three months of physical therapy and tell me that I'll never run without pain and that was basically what drove me to the treadmill. The first time I ran was in December 2005 (six months after my surgery) and I almost died. I felt as though someone was stabbing me in the chest with rusty knives. That day I ran for five minutes. I remember being thankful that at least the pain was stemming from a lack of cardiovascual strength, and not from my sorta-bum knee. Soon enough I was running ten minutes, and then fifteen and then twenty and beyond..Was I a runner? No. But it didn't keep me from trying.

I decided that I would sign up for a 5 mile race that took place in June 2007. I'm not going to lie, I was cocky. I thought I wouldn't need to train all that much and oh, was I wrong. That course OWNED me, and I swore it would be the last time I ever underestimated a race. The next year I ran the same race and not only did I run straight through, but I took about ten minutes off of my race time. Sometime within that year I hit my stride, I started to enjoy and look forward to my runs. Still, I didn't feel like a runner.

I've participated in countless races or varying distances since that fateful day in 2007. There was my first half marathon in June 2008. And then I ran another in June 2009. And my third in October 2009. Then there was my fourth in June 2010. I will run my fifth half marathon in October 2010. I am also training for my very first marathon. I will be running 26.2 miles around the Magic Kingdom. That's right, my first marathon will be at Disney.

Over the last few years I've realized that I really enjoy running. It's not because I'm fast (because I'm not), and it's certainly not because I place at races (I likely never will). I like the feeling that I get as I'm lining up (close to the back of the pack) at a starting line. I love running along the esplanade and seeing runners of all shapes and sizes. I enjoy how strong (and exhausted) I feel after a particularly grueling hill run. I think what I like the most is how many fabulous people I've met through running. I always joke that finding a good running partner is akin to dating. Run with someone who's not a good fit (either physically or personality-wise) and you will want to throw yourself into a busy intersection. On the other hand, if you find a good match, that ten mile run will go by in a flash.

Every time I tell myself that I'm not a real runner because I'm not fast I have to remind myself that I AM. I am a runner. I have suffered through the icy, freezing New England winters, and the humid, sweltering summers. I have lost countless toenails. I have sacrificed nights out in order to get up early for a weekend long run. I have spent hundreds of dollars on race entries. I am a runner because I love to run.

I'm hoping that this section of my blog will serve a dual purpose - to give pointers and advice to runners who are just like me, a little on the slow side but still interested in longer distances, as well as allowing me a place to vent and gloat about my marathon training.

 June 2007

May 2008

May 2009


June 2010

7 comments:

Monica said...

this is amazing, J. you're such an inspiration, and i can't wait to read about your training/running adventures. plus...i'm super jealous you're running a marathon at DISNEY, that's...amazing!
:]

Dori said...

Is that the Run: Sunrise Tank in the last picture? I have that in green and LOVE it. Such a flattering and comfortable top!

j. said...

aw thank you monica. you're always so positive and supportive - it's so appreciated!

dori - yes, it is!! i love it. i like that it doesn't ride up on me (which a LOT of shirts do!)

Betsy said...

I love this post, thanks for sharing your story.

j. said...

you're so welcome Betsy!

Kori said...

I love the new layout, and also I AM SO JEALOUS THAT YOU ARE RUNNING THE DISNEY MARATHON.

j. said...

thanks kori! and i am sooo pumped (and scared out of my mind, but that's fiiine) about running a marathon!!