Running Wild

Last week, I told you about a book I’d just finished, called Big Girls Do It Running by Jasinda Wilder. I’m going to chronicle my journey to get more fit and healthier over the next eight weeks right here, every Wednesday. Wilder Way Wednesday!

In BGDIR, Jasinda challenges us to sign up for a 5K. I laughed a little, because it reminded me of my first ‘real’ running experience.

Running pic 1In 2008, we had been in Florida for about a year. I had gotten involved a little bit with the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, as a way to raise money to fight the disease that had killed my parents. At the end of that summer, I was contacted by Team In Training, a part of LLS that organizes teams to participate in races around the country and raise money to benefit LLS. They were putting together a team for the Disney Marathon Weekend, and they wondered if I’d be interested in being part of the half-marathon team.

Now, I wasn’t athletic. Never had been. (I’m STILL not.) I love to WATCH football, baseball, soccer . . . and I’m a decent softball player (my high school friends are probably skeptical, but it’s true!). I grew up a dancer, and I still love to dance. But run? Oh, I think not. My mother had always told me that running wasn’t good for women. She said it shook up our insides and caused problems. I listened and believed.

But now . . . after my parents died, I’d purposed to do something new and challenging every year. InRunning pic 2 2008, I’d snorkeled in the ocean in Maui for the first time ever. 2009 seemed like a good time to try a half-marathon, right? After all, I had almost six months to train. Easy-peasy.

Except I really didn’t train. Oh, I half-heartedly did a few short runs. I walked a lot. But I was busy writing my first novel and homeschooling my kids and dealing with life. Time marched on, and before I knew it, January was upon us. Suddenly, I was terrified: what had I been THINKING? I couldn’t run. I didn’t run. I was going to be the lonely, pathetic person at the end of the race, dragging her heels before the dreaded sweeper bus picked me up. I had nightmares about running pic 3running the race in my heels.

I would love to say I kicked ass in that race. Honestly? I finished it in under 3 hours, and I called that a win. I wasn’t the last by any means, and I even RAN much of it. Not all, but some. There was something about being among runners that made me want to do it, too!

For about a year, I did a bunch of races. I completed two more half-marathons, a couple of 10Ks and a 13K. I didn’t do too much training between times, though. I had a lot of excuses: Florida is hot. Outside training was HOT. I ran on a treadmill at a local gym for a while, but not with any real consistency.

About a year and a half after my first race, I was coming home from a long road trip one day when my knee began to hurt. Not just a passing ache, but a real and deep pain. I ended up at an orthopedist, who told me running was destroying my knees. I didn’t necessarily buy that, but my life was changing at that point, and races were becoming less appealing (and more expensive!). I did my last Disney race that fall and could barely walk afterwards–so I decided my short and illustrious running career was over.

Since then, after a long hiatus, I’ve slowly returned to running. I’ve done some 5Ks with my kids, and earlier this year, I did the Princess 5K with my girls and my sister-in-law and niece. It was fun to be back there, and I actually got my best time ever in a 5K. I don’t need to do half-marathons anymore; I’m perfectly happy to perfect the art of the 5K.

Next Sunday, I’m doing another 5K, and this one I’m counting as the Jasinda challenge race. And I can’t wait! (See the report next Wednesday, or follow me on Facebook and Instagram for more instant news.)

I’m going to be chronicling my journey over these next eight weeks right here, every Wednesday. We’ll call it Wilder Way Wednesday! I’d love to hear if you’re participating, too, and how you’re doing. We’re in this together, right? I’ll be there for you. And I’d love your encouragement!

Peace, love and romance~

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