I’m a runner. Three words that so many people of different abilities, different body types, different walks of life, can all say. And all mean it. When people ask me why I started running, it’s hard to put into words, but running got me through a very difficult time. I used to run maybe 20+ years ago, but nothing significant. A mile or two a few nights a week and one 5k a year, then I attempted a 10k and I think I was DFL. After that, I had kids and all thoughts of running went out the window.
Then in 2012-2013, I separated then got divorced, and during this time I felt….empty. At one of my daughter’s many softball practices I just got antsy and couldn’t sit there, so I got up to walk and pass the time. I felt really good after that, so I downloaded Runkeeper on my phone and walked during all the practices. I remember how proud I was the first time I walked a mile, it felt like such a long distance!
That mile walked turned into two, then 3 and by the time I got up to walking 6-7 miles, I was getting bored since it took so long. So, I started running them. January 2014 I ran a 5k (the Atlanta Hot Chocolate) and got such a rush from it. I think I did a couple more 5ks, then a 10k. I was officially hooked on running and constantly checked RunGeorgia and the running calendars for fun races.
That summer, one of the races I saw was Dirty Spokes’ Sawnee Mountain, and I don’t know why, but it really got my attention. Looking at the pictures on the website and reading the description, I saw that it was a trail race. Not only had I never ran a trail race, I had never even hiked on a trail, so I really don’t know why I was drawn to it. So, I went to Famous Footwear and on my tight budget bought one of the cheapest “trail shoes” they had. The name had “Trail” in it, so they must work, right? 😊 Race morning, I drove out there, and stood in the start corral, in the pouring rain, shivering, and feeling so intimidated and out of my league. I didn’t belong here, these were real runners, they knew what to do. Then the gun went off, and we circled the parking lot before heading into the woods and up to the top. As we left the pavement, there was a big puddle and people were tiptoeing around it. I decided to just splash through it…and grinned. And didn’t stop grinning the entire race, through every puddle, every splash, every slip. I was disappointed to see the finish line. From then on, instead of hooked on phonics, I was hooked on trails.
I did a some Spartans and some odds and end races but trails just made me happy. One week short of a year after my 5k, I ran my first half marathon, the Louisiana Half, as a member of Team Triumph – Angels of Georgia while helping to push a rider athlete in a running wheel chair. What a great experience that was.
After that, things are a blur. Some really good moments running, and some really painful ones. I ran my first RunBum race with the 2015 Helen Half and to this day that is still one of my favorite races, ran it twice and volunteered twice, with more to come! As a matter of fact, I was signed up for the 2017 Helen Half but ended up with a pretty severe ankle break that October. I ended up getting the boot off a week before Helen, so I did what any sensible person would do. Dropped down to the 10k 😊
I did quite a few halves, both road and trail, and really wanted the courage to go farther, but I was doubtful of my abilities. I should’ve gotten out of my head, and at least attempt them. I know I could have finished if I had tried. So, here I am. I have my bucket list race of the Marine Corps Marathon which has been paused since 2020 coming up in October, then Graysons 50k in May 2023 to celebrate turning 50. Well, I planned on the 50k until a friend convinced me to try for the 50 miler. So that’s were I am now.
Still trying to get the doubts out of my head, and not let those doubts make excuses, but I got this. From the boring little 3 mile training run after a long day of work and your shoes feel like they are made of bricks. To the long Saturday morning run when coffee under a blanket sounds so much better. To the runs where everything just “clicks”, and you float. It will hurt… it will be slow… but I got this. Why? Because I’m a runner.
Marine Corps Half Oct 2022 - a few 50ks - Grayson 50 miler
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