It hasn't always been that way. I didn't start running until college. Ok, that's not technically true. I was actually on my high school track team my sophomore year. I was on the sprint squad. Really?!? Me, a sprinter? It was truly ridiculous. This squat, stocky body is not a sprinter's body. I'm pretty sure the coaches just saw absolutely no potential, so they didn't even bother figuring out that I would've been so much better running longer distances. Or, at least, not at bad as I was at sprinting. I'm pretty sure I finished either last or second to last in every sprint I ran. I was awesome, clearly. And, that was my last year of track.
When I got to college, I started running as a way to stay in shape. A way to ward off the freshman 15. A way to rationalize being able to eat dessert every time I went to Mrs. E's (our dorm dining hall). What? It's not normal to have ice cream as a topper to every single meal? I have no idea how much I ran back then. It was before the days of GPSs or even Google Earth (heck, I'm pretty sure it was before Google was around), so there was no way for me to figure out how much I was running unless I drove the distance with my car. I ran routes where that wasn't really possible, so I just kind of guesstimated all my runs. This is about the time the obsession started.
It became a habit or obsession that I had to do almost every day. I would run in the cold and the heat. If I had a week with more than two days off, I would be annoyed. It was a stress reliever, but also, I really started to enjoy it. If you look at my wedding photos, you can actually see the sports-bra-shaped tan lines on my shoulders: the result of all those runs. Why, oh, why did I not figure out a way to cover those up? They still bother me in pictures. Anyway, after we got married, Cory and I started doing races together. We started with one: the Lenexa Freedom Run 5K. Then, we started running more races. I started doing 10Ks. If you've never tried a road race, I highly recommend it. It such a fun, party atmosphere. Everyone is so nice; the camaraderie is awesome. And, well, there are usually donuts at the end. That's Cory's favorite part of every race.
Somewhere along the way, I decided that before I died, I wanted to run a marathon. I kept putting in far away, in the distance, way down the road. Then, one day, I just decided I was going to go for it. I think doing a lot of running on the treadmill caused it. I like to look at concrete numbers about what I'm doing. When I was on the treadmill, I was constantly telling myself, "just one more quarter mile." Somehow, all those quarter miles turned into a marathon. After that first marathon, Cory got me my precious Garmin running watch. I could see, in real time, the distance I was running. Oh, it was glorious. I could be even more obsessive during and after my runs. And, I loved it.
Then, Molly came along. I know a lot of runners run way far into pregnancy. But, it was very hard for me. I was sick with both girls (Charlotte much more so), and it was just not fun to run with a giant belly. I ran a lot after Molly was born with her in the jogging stroller. But, running with two kids in a double jogger is significantly harder, though still not as hard as running with a giant pregnant belly and constant waves of nausea.
Nowadays, running is such a social experience for me. I get up and go for a run with my neighbor Sarah before our husbands leave for work. It's our time to talk without children interrupting every other second. No one's nose to wipe except our own. Actual, real grown up conversations and running. Perfect. And, even though I love running without my kids, I've always dreamed that one day I'd be able to run with my girls. (Turner family girls, I'm looking at you guys!)
Molly's seen me go out every morning for runs. Cory takes her to a lot of my races to cheer me on. I was hoping that by exposing her, someday she would want to run, too. And, this week, I got my wish. She had been saying that she wanted running clothes because at a couple of my races, they have kid fun runs. She's decided that to run those races, she should be in running clothes. Oh my little princess, she needs to be properly dressed and accessorized even to run. So, for her birthday, she got two sets of running clothes.
On Wednesday, she decided she wanted to go for a run with mommy. I went for my normal run, then came back to get her. She was wearing her new running clothes, of course. We went out on the road. She was pretty fast (she hasn't learned pacing, clearly). She went all out as long as she could. She started doing the runner's breathing, which had me cracking up. We talked about her birthday, the bunnies we saw, the weather. It was just like I had dreamed it would be. It was truly perfect.
|Showing off her muscles after the run.|
After we got back from our run, Molly said she had "so much fun running." Then, she promptly sat on the couch and ate a bowl of cereal. I have absolutely no idea where she was modeling that behavior from. She sure has never seen it from me. Or ... maybe I've done that a couple times ... or every day. The things they pick up on. At least she learned the running from me, too.
On a side note, please send good thoughts my way tomorrow. I'm running the Hospital Hill Half Marathon, and it's supposed to get to 90 degrees. Yuck. I'll let you know if I survive.