When people hear that I ran my first marathon last fall, or that I’ve got a 10k coming up, or even that I’m going for a 4-5 mile run at 6:00 in the morning, they most often ask, “How can you do that?” Well, people, the how is easy. Just get up, strap your shoes on and go! It doesn’t matter if you’re going 1 mile or 20, those first two steps will always apply.
What I think people really mean to ask is, “Why do you do that?” And I’ve got to say, there are several reasons. I run for health and fitness, of course. But that’s not really what got me started or what keeps me going, that’s just a great side effect. I run for my family, for my sanity, and for the challenge.
In the beginning, I started running for my family. It was early 2007 when I got my first MP3 player, a jogging stroller for Cooper, and hit the road. It was only 3 miles at a time, and at most, 3 times a week. But I was getting out there and most days I had my little coach. Cooper (age 3 at the time) would encourage me, “You’re not runningPapa,” or, “zzzzzz….” But the time spent with him on these early runs was awesome. We would run 1.5 miles from our rental house to the construction site. Once there, we would get him out of the stroller and inspect the builder’s work. We’d usually take 5-10 minutes just to walk around and check things out. Then I’d load my building inspector/coach back into his stroller and we’d head home. Fortunately for me, this was almost all down hill.
This first summer of running was different for me. After the house was finished and we moved in, I didn’t really have a reason to run. Someone at work suggested I enter the 8k, but wow, 5 miles might as well have been a marathon for me back then. I didn’t see any way that I could finish that distance. At the same time I had lost my coach, Cooper didn’t want to ride along while I ran anymore, and I really missed that.
The next fall (2008), Sarah and Cooper both signed up for the Times-Dispatch Kids Run the night before I ran my first half-marathon. I ran with them and trained with them, probably too little. We fit our training in between my training for the half marathon, homework for them, and all of the other extra-curricular activities a 5 and 8 year old have. I ran the mile with Cooper to ensure he didn’t get lost and now the table had turned, I was his coach, and I loved it.
Sarah and Cooper did another kids run in the summer of 2009 and then Sarah and I entered a 5k as a team. We trained together, again, probably too little. It was the first time I had really enjoyed running without music, training with Sarah.
This Spring, Cooper and Sarah both participated in Mr. Sthreshley’s (and Richmond Sportsbackers) Fit for Life program at the school. They ran every Monday and Friday, weather permitting, and some Saturdays to make up for the Mondays and Fridays that weather didn’t permit. I loved the days that I was able to leave work early and run with them at the school or the Saturday mornings running with them.
I’m not sure I’d have the same connection with Cooper or, especially, Sarah if it wasn’t for running. I have other connections with Christi (though I’m trying to talk her into running), and Leanna (she ran a mile in gym class once, that’s enough for her), so don’t worry that I’m neglecting anyone. I don’t run as much as I’d like with Cooper and Sarah, but I definitely want to run more. I think, with just a little training, we could be a 3 person team at this year’s Powhatan YMCA 5k.
I’ve rambled on enough, I’ll write later this week or next to tell you how running affects my sanity and why I love the challenges.
- Race Training Begins!