I ran when I was 10 and did really well. I competed in CYO and enjoyed it but then I stopped. I ran again in high school but my interest wasn’t in running so I stopped. I ran in my early 20’s but again was too distracted so I stopped. In my late 30’s I told myself to get back to running and this time I kept running. I’m 45 now and running is as much a part of my life as walking, riding my bike and doing yoga.
I have been very active all my life but in my late 30’s when my daughter was in her teens it was time for me to invest in my health and my body. I have always been slender but I didn’t feel healthy. So I joined a gym, worked with a trainer to add weight lifting and very slowly began running. I started off at a run/walk mile. It was really pathetic. But it worked into a solid run and then I added another mile and then another one and ran my 1st 5K. That felt so good! I accomplished something I set out to do and it was only for me. Six months later I was down 10 pounds and felt great! I then pushed myself to run faster and the best time I managed to get was 21:38 and I placed first in my division. It was really exciting and I was proud of my accomplishments. My boyfriend at the time however was not and our relationship that had been slowly dissolving just plain disappeared. My running took time away from him but that was what I wanted. I wasn’t ready to up and leave but I was ready to run away when I could. So I ran. I ran a lot.
Move forward a few years and I completed a marathon, left a rotting relationship, fell madly in love and promptly put back on 10 pounds because…well because I was just really happy and as much as I loved running, I loved my new relationship better. And so it goes; as my running changes due to events in my life so do the events in my life that shape my running. That might not make sense but I’m not really sure what comes first. Does my running change because life events change it? Or do life events change because I run?
My running partner Stephanie and I have been running together for over five years. She had recently moved to our Northern California town and joined a runners group to meet others. We immediately liked each other and started a quiet competition with each other on our weekly Saturday runs at the local Fleet Feet. It was a friendly competition; mostly we pushed each other to do the best we could. A few years later she was there to hear all about my new love, and I was there to hear of her excitement over her decision to pursue adopting a baby and then not too much later it was excitement of her pregnancy. Then I broke my leg skiing. Running was on hold. Serious hold. It was frustrating, aggravating and overall a true set back. Months later when I was back at it, it wasn’t the same but it sure felt good to tie on those Asics and hit the trails. My balance was off and I was scared to death of falling but running gave me confidence, which was shaken from my accident. But after months of physical therapy my leg didn’t heal right so I was in surgery and three weeks after that I went back to the trails.
Running changes with my life and I know that 21 minute 5k’s may not be in my future. I registered for a half marathon in Healdsburg this past October with Stephanie and first she backed out due to a knee injury, then I backed out due to soft tissue damage in my ankle. After weeks of rest we were both back to our weekly group, a little slower but determined to run, disappointed that we couldn’t make the race but also knowing that maybe next year we will make it.
I don’t run only when my body is perfect, when my knee doesn’t hurt, when I ate the perfect pre-fun food. I run despite all the things our body does to try to set us back and I will continue till I’m just too old to do it. Or maybe till the next life event shakes it up a little. But running is who I am, and I’m not as thin as I was a few years ago but I feel good; I have a few more gray hairs but I can deal with that, and those ab exercises I do don’t have the quick effect they once did and I am ok with that. My body will never be the same, and my running will never be the same but that’s what is great because maybe running and life mirror each other. Running and life naturally ebb and flow but they are always there.