I didn't set out to be a runner. Running was never an activity that I called enjoyable. It was a necessary evil as part of my training for field hockey. Despite being a faithful follower of every training program given to me by my coaches, I didn't find the act of heading out to the track or hitting the pavement even remotely fun. I simply knew that the conditioning I was doing was going to help me perform at my highest level on the hockey field. That was over 15 years ago.
15 years and a lifetime of highs and lows later I've discovered a new passion... running. What led me to this discovery? The worst experience of my life, that's what. Watching my mom's health deteriorate and ultimately be overcome by cancer should have knocked me off my feet. Instead, it did the opposite. Seeing the cancer steal away my mother's mobility motivated me to get moving. Witnessing my mother's fierce resolve, even in her final moments, triggered a realization in me that I can't allow fear to hinder me from accepting and even welcoming challanges. And so I run.
Running in races was something I thought about but never acted on until I realized the only things stopping me were the made up excuses in my mind. Too busy working full time, running a household, and raising two children. Too many other commitments. Too little motivation. Too much fear. What if I committed to a race but couldn't find the time to train properly? What if I trained and injured myself? What if I came in last? What if I couldn't finish the race? And then my mom died... couragously. Suddenly, my valid reasons for not running in my first race were just stupid mental roadblocks. Yes, running a distance race was a challange. One that made me nervous and afraid. But how could I turn away from that challange now? So I signed up for the Broad Street Run in Philly. I signed up for a 10 miler having never run more than 2 miles at one time. I made the decision at the start of the new year and haven't turned back since. I've logged more miles than I can count. I spent countless hours in my cold dark basement pounding the treadmill more times than I care to remember. I ran my first 5k in 11 degree temperatures with a windchill of -15. I ran my first 8k on a chilly rainy day in March. I ran my first 10k on a wind driven April day. None of the races were easy. But I ran every single step and crossed every finish line in every race. And a passion was born.
Running gives me confidence. It builds a strength in me I thought I had lost. It brings me peace. Do I love every run? Absolutely not. Some days are more challenging than others. But that's where the passion gets its fire. If it was easy it wouldn't be as meaningful. I once thought finishing the race was the ultimate achievement. Now I know that the journey is the achievement, finishing the race is the high-five at the end signifying a job well-done.