I never planned on being a runner. I joined my high school’s cross country team on a whim. I had to quit my after-school job to do this, but it was worth it. I was looking for something different, a literal change of pace, and running was an outlet to do that.
At the beginning, it was hard. Well, it’s still hard, I guess. Running is never easy. There were days where I dreaded going to practice. My body hurt. My high school coach was great, but she was tough, she pushed us, and it was all a new kind of pain – shin splints and calf strains and terrible cramps. And then I started getting better, getting stronger, and I liked that, I liked seeing a marked improvement. I knew I would never win a race, but I could always get better, I could always beat my own time. Running isn’t about beating an opponent, it’s about beating yourself.
Here we are eight years later. Yesterday, I ran the Run to Remember Half Marathon. It was my first half-marathon. And, like any race of that distance, it wasn’t easy, but then the endorphins kicked in, and the crowd cheered, and I spotted the finish line, and somehow powered through.
And finally, after many years of running, I got a medal.