Little known fact about me: When I was a kid, I was a sprinter. I was crazy fast. The track team invited me to join in grade 3 (Jaia’s age now!) , a full year before kids were normally allowed to be on sports teams in elementary schools. At the time, I was running the 100m dash and the 4 X 100. And I did pretty well considering I was 3-4 years younger than some of my competitors.
At the time, I remember watching some of the kids run the 1300m races and thinking I could never do that. In a sprint you give it all you have from the first second until the last. 100m is not very long and almost anyone can run that distance unassisted. But 1300m? That seemed like a marathon to me.
As the years passed, my interest in athletics changed. There weren’t a lot of opportunities for me to join sports teams, but keeping and staying in shape became very important. And there was no easier (or cheaper) way than running. And quickly enough, I went from running 100 meters to 5 km.
For 10 years I was happy at that distance. I have a fairly weak knee that kept me from doing much more. But there’s nothing I like more than a challenge. So I upped the ante and signed up for my first 10 km race. At the time, it was the hardest thing I’d ever done. A friend though, was running her first half-marathon. The thought of joining her made me laugh out loud. Never, ever, ever in a million years could I do that. The 10 km race nearly killed me. And that was that.
Fast forward to a few years ago, and that bug to challenge myself bit me again. I first staved it off by competing in a 100 km bike ride. I was uber proud of myself for finishing, but it just wasn’t enough. Cycling wasn’t my sport. Running was.
And that was it. I knew I had to do it. Maybe a one-time deal, but that half-marathon sat on my bucket list staring quietly at me for a few years and it turns out that no matter how hard you try, you just won’t get any younger. The time was now or never.
A hip injury changed my plans last year, unfortunately, and so this year I promised myself that there would be no excuses. And so, on September 21, rain or shine, I’ll be lacing up with a few 1000 others to compete in the Army run.
I’ll be honest…this is the first ‘training’ I’ve ever really done. For anything. Even for the 100 km bike ride. I thought winging it would turn out fine. And it did. Sort of. After that first ½ hour off the bike that made me wonder if I would ever walk again, I was, well, fine.
But this is different. There’s no coasting when you are running. You run (or walk) or you don’t finish. I’m not the fastest runner (funny, coming a former sprinter) so for this race, I’m just hoping to finish. Crossing the finish line to see my family standing there cheering me on is medal enough.
I’d be lying if I say that I’m not doing this for selfish reasons. I want this. I want to scratch it off my bucket list with gusto. But I’m also doing this for Jaia and Wes. So they can be proud of me for something (also selfish) but also to show them that with a little (or a lot) of hard work, they can do absolutely anything they put their mind to, no matter how impossible it once seemed.