|My first marathon! E and I ran it together.|
Cliche as it is, I came to running on the heels of a really bad breakup. Prior to that, I had been a gym rat, logging hours on the stair stepper, using weights to work out my upper body and dutifully knocking out a series of crunches and pushups daily. I worked out to get in shape and stay fit, but it wasn’t for the love of it, it was just the healthy thing to do. I was still in college then, pretty poor and splitting my time between my classes and a job assistant managing a bookstore.
When the breakup happened, I was devastated. It was unexpected, and I was heartbroken, angry and needed an outlet for all the emotions that seemed to crowd out everything else. My time of the stair stepper no longer cut it; I needed to move.
At the time, the closest thing I owned to sneakers was a battered pair of Chuck Taylors that I wore to work and to punk shows. Poor college student that I was, I took myself to Target and bought the cheapest pair of shoes I could find, a $20 pair of Champion brand sneakers. I pulled on the only workout clothes I owned, which were leftovers from my brief stint as a shot-putter and discus-thrower in high school, hit the trail.
There was a park next to my house that had a .75 mile paved running trail, so I started going there every day, morning, noon and evening, wherever I could fit it in. I was a pack-a-day smoker then too, so speed and consistency were hard to come by; I walked far more than I ran. And really, I knew nothing about running. All that mattered was to keep moving, to break a sweat and work out some of my angst. And it worked. I didn’t get significantly faster nor even increased my ability to run for periods of time, but I pushed through.
I was working part-time as an office assistant at a law firm by then, and I started going out at lunch with one of the girls. We’d run/walk the bridges, meandering through the downtown area where we worked. It opened a whole new world for me; I didn’t know what it was to explore a place like that, learning the area from the ground up.
I started doing yoga too, and between the two, found a sense of salvation. I ran my first 5k, and then a couple more. Eventually, I started dating again, and eventually met E. He was training for a marathon when we met, a distance that I barely knew existed, and one that I couldn’t fathom ever completing myself or even wanting to complete. I quit smoking and started running more, really running, and ran my first 10 mile and then my first half marathon, and finally my first marathon. I was hooked. It was (and is) something that's wonderful to do together as a couple, and also something that I have found that can just be for me.
And I still am. I have found a passion for running that has stuck with me; I read about it, write about it and have even been lucky enough to work with a couple running and triathlon companies in my other life as a freelance writer.