Running and I have always had a love-hate relationship. It started off poorly because I was a terrible runner and dreaded the 1 mile run we had to do in high school for our fitness test. Somewhere in college, I started running a few miles and by my senior year I did a sprint triathalon–the most running I’d ever done.
A few years after college, I meet Jeff. He’s a runner. We move to Chicago and in 2008 he convinces me it’ll be fun to do a marathon. We do. Lots of strong dislike (to be nice in wording) with running, especially as our mileage increased. There was a lot to like as well–the pride you feel running your furthest distance ever and the week before not having thought it was possible.
Since the marathon, a handful of half marathons, but none in the last few years. Last Sunday, a 10K (6.2 miles)…the longest I’ve run and semi-trained for in a while.
I started last week off sick with the start of a cold and a cough. I nipped the cold in the bud, but the cough has lingered. I was contemplating not running until Saturday. Jeff said, “Oh yeah, you can run it.” He offered to run with me, which is something we’ve never done at race time. He’s much faster than I, also more competitive. As long as I finish, I’m a happy runner.
Sunday morning, Jeff and I moaned as our alarms went off. But we hopped out of bed, got our shoes tied up and our bib numbers pinned to our shirts. We headed to the metro and got to the start in time to get near the front.
Race day is why I LOVE running. It’s so fun to look around at the thousands of people, different ages, in different places in life and with different dreams. We are all brought together by a common interest or the same goal of completing the upcoming challenge. Every one of us has trained, or put some effort forth into getting ready for the mileage we are going to demand on our bodies. Some people have new running gear–something to make them feel good. Others carry or wear signs, running to honor a loved one. Others meet new goals–never having run a race before, while the veterans to the sport, maybe reach new goals–their 100th race or beating their own record time.
Whatever the reason running on race day is a time to feel connected to your fellow beings. Running is a time where you stop when you seem someone stumble to make sure they’re okay. Running is a time when you smile and push a little more as you watch a nine year old run by you, with her music, in her zone. Running is a time when you nod your head in respect for the man in front of you. He has no arm; the guy you just passed has two prosthetic legs. Running is a time when you push hard, you let the cheers of the fans soak in. Running is a time when you realize how blessed you are.
I’m sure I’ll always have my moments of dread with running but any race day will fill your heart with love. Race day or any other day that you’ve worked hard to reach, will be a day of wonderful gratitude, happiness and accomplishment.
When’s your next race day!?!