I’ve never been a runner. Let me back up. I’ve never been an athlete. Of any sort. At ALL.
My grade school and middle school years were filled with choir, theater and anything other than something that required me kicking a ball or running too fast. I did play soccer, swam and tried out basketball, but I quit after one season every time. Except for basketball…I didn’t even make it through the first practice. I joined track for one season in high school (the event will remain a secret) out of the desire to meet new friends and do something “different.” That was a bust as well.
So despite my father’s hardest attempts to get me to join the high school golf team (Note: I am terrible at golf. Oh and I hate it), I spent my after-school hours with a hammer in my hand and stage makeup in my bag working behind the scenes of the theatrical productions. I should follow this by mentioning that the only reason I worked behind the scenes was because I could never land an actual acting role. Except for my junior year when I had two lines. So yeah, basically high school was a big failure. At least I was good at school work! (Insert nerd comment here).
The only thing I did stick with my entire life was dance. From tap to jazz to ballet to pointe, I did it all. And legitimately loved it all. Buying pointe shoes on my 16th birthday may have been one of the best days of my life. But unlike those competitive sports I could never seem to master, I danced strictly for fun. Being “blessed” with a Kim Kardashian butt, a large chest and overall “big-boned” frame did not bode well for doing any kind of competitive dancing. Thanks for those awesome genes, Mom…
That’s where I come to the point of this post (bored of my sob story yet?). Two weeks ago I ran a half marathon, my first one ever. Not a 5K, not a 10K, but a full 13.1 miles. Now those of you who have grown up running know this isn’t a huge deal. But maybe judging by my pathetic words above can have some respect that someone as un-athletic as me actually completed it, and didn’t want to die in the middle of it.
Until about a year and a half ago, I despised running and only did it when I was at a loss for another form of exercise (i.e. traveling and no gym was around). In the past 18 months, I became motivated to push myself mentally and physically and learn what this whole “competition” thing is really about. So I started slowly and did a few 5Ks until I worked up to running the Peachtree Road Race this summer (10K). About two months before the half marathon, I literally had a breakdown after a 6-mile run, disappointed in myself and feeling stupid for ever trying to be the athlete I wasn’t.
That’s when I realized that this emotion I was feeling was exactly what I was looking for. That competition against myself and my body. So I said screw it and continued with training until the big day came when I actually finished. I thought I would cry when I crossed the finish line, but I didn’t. Instead I was too busy looking for my friends, downing water and wondering “am I going to vomit if I eat this muffin they are handing me?”
Point of it is that I had fun. And loved it. And want to do 20 more. And hell, maybe even a full marathon in the next few years. The adrenaline that kicks in is maybe the best feeling in the world.
I’m not blind to the fact that more and more people are running. That it’s no longer an exclusive thing anymore. It seems like every time I get on Facebook, someone else just posted about the half marathon or 10K they just completed. So even though I may not be a part of this special club, I can honestly say that I surprised myself in actually doing something athletic for once, literally once, in my life. What’s next on the bucket list? That’s yet to be determined. But I’ll let you know.