I HATED running. Anyone who witnessed my junior high track days could attest to that. I thought I was going to die every time we had to run the “Road Course,” which was a mere 1.1 mile route through our little town. (That says 1 point 1. NOT 11.)
What if I hyperventilate out there? Yow, I rolled my ankle. I’m.Going.To.Puke! (Have I mentioned my overdramatic, crazy thoughts?) I’m pretty certain I could walk it faster than some of the times it took me to run it back then. I wanted to quit junior high track so desperately, but my dad (the good dad that he is) made me stick it out.
Give me a ball to chase around and I was good. I guess, distracted enough from the running to realize that’s all we were really doing anyway. Volleyball in the fall; Basketball in the winter; Softball in the spring; and then all three for summer leagues. L-O-V-E-D I-T! But trudging down a lonely asphalt road with nothing but cornfields suffocating you on both sides… no thank you.
Then I went to college. As I mentioned before, I had been planning on playing volleyball and basketball at Knox, but changed my mind due to an intimidating preseason lifting packet (and a change of coaching staff as well). With basketball as my only sport then, it just became too much. Playing one sport year round just wasn’t as fun. I guess I needed the variety. I finished out that first year, but for that reason (among others as well), I decided not to play basketball anymore either.
Without having that team commitment, I realized I had the freedom to exercise – JUST FOR ME. I began to love working out (especially after that summer when I overcame that fear of the weight room).
The endorphins from an exercise high are exhilarating. You feel like you’ve really accomplished something great! Such an awesome feeling.
And then, there was running… For the first time, because I didn’t feel like I HAD to do it, I began jogging around campus – and enjoying it! Nothing far. Nothing fast. But it was nice. Really nice.
Then my (future) sister-in-law, Kathryn Miles, ran the Chicago Marathon. WHAT?! People actually run 26.2 MILES?! Oh Junior High Road Course, where are you now?
We went as spectators and I was overcome by my emotions. From the moment the runners gathered in the corrals to the sound of “Eye of the Tiger” to the cheering stands at the finish line, I kept finding myself tearing up. Tears. Falling from my eyes! People were falling down just blocks short of the end and complete strangers on the course were stopping to help them up and even carry some of them across the finish line. It was unreal.
And – the spark had been lit… But there is so much more. Next up – Camp Counselor turned Runner.
How do y’all feel about running? Love it? Hate it? Lukewarm?