My love affair with running started when I was 19 years old. I had broken up with my boyfriend and was in such a funk that there was no other solution than to open up the door and run. And I’ve been running ever since.
Running has helped get me through breakups, job losses, postpartum depression, and was an excellent hangover cure in my younger days. But the biggest impact running has had was to show me that I can do anything.
I’ve run half marathons, marathons, and done sprint triathlons. These were impossible dreams when I was younger. Growing up, I was the sedentary child in an athletic family. My dad grew up a football star in a small border town and my brothers and sister all had a sport they excelled at. Not me. In high school, my PE teacher asked me if I was adopted because I couldn’t catch a softball.
What I could do was move my feet and 9 times out of 10 stay upright. Running was not only doable but fun. It was mostly casual, but after having kids I wanted to turn it up a notch. My first marathon was tough. I was overweight from having two kids in close succession and I was in it just to finish. The second time, I was trying to survive the day. I had an injury and I did almost the entire marathon in numbing pain.
There was a song that I played over and over again in the last couple of miles. The chorus says “And you don’t stop. And you don’t quit.”
That’s what running has shown me. That I can’t stop. I won’t quit. Running my first marathon gave me the confidence to start my own business. When it didn’t work out, I didn’t crawl up in a ball and watch Pride and Prejudice over and over again (…okay, I did do that, but it was only for a day). I got back up, opened the door, and ran.
In January, I did the Tinkerbell Half Marathon through Disneyland and Disney’s California Adventure. I had done every other race just to survive or finish. This time I said to myself, I’m going to do the best that I possibly can and push myself harder than ever before. I waved goodbye to the friends I started the race with, and finished 28 minutes faster than I had the year before. Sunday I did a 10k and my pace time was a minute faster than the half marathon.
Once again, running has proved to me that I can push myself beyond what I imagined I could handle. It showed me that I’m capable of more if I just push myself.
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Related: “Summer on the Run”