I am a runner.
Not a very fast one, but still, I am a runner.
I never imagined I would say that...never really thought I would want to say that.
You see, in high school, running was punishment. I was in the colorguard then and when we couldn't get our sets right, or we dropped too much, or we were giggling and chatting too much...we ran. It was usually just a lap around the football field, but I distinctly remember one day that we were having a particularly hard time with all of the aforementioned offenses. We were also practicing with the band that day, and it turns out they were having trouble too. We ran a lot that day.
Clearly, it has affected me deeply. I just can't let it go.
And that is probably why I had detested running for so long. It was punishment. And even though I was in really good shape back then, I was slow and it was hard.
Then my husband got it in his head to do a marathon after he graduated from A&M. I thought he was crazy.
Still do in fact. That's just too far to run...unless someone is chasing you.
He's completed dozens of races; marathons, half marathons, 5ks, 10ks...and in training for those races he was spending long hours away from home...running. If you know someone that has trained for a marathon, then you know that they disappear for hours on end, especially for those long runs. And I got tired of it. I wanted to see my husband, so like any good wife, I decided I would try running too.
And it was awful.
I started huffing and puffing my way through training for my first 5k. The couch-to-5k program is amazing by the way. I gave up on that in week 6 or 7 though. I sucked at running. I completed my first 5k on Thanksgiving Day in 2010...and thought I was going to die. And then I ate a lot for dinner that day. ;o) I had earned it.
After a few months, I decided to give the running thing a try again. I signed up for the Houston El Paso 5k because all finishers get a medal, and if I was going to subject myself to torture I might as well have a medal to show for it. Plus, the hubbs was racking up medals left and right and I was getting jealous. Just being honest here.
I started the couch to 5k again. If at first you don't succeed, try, try again, right? This time, the hubbs would run with me occasionally. This was the whole goal in taking up this crazy sport...romantic evening runs with the hubbs. We could even take Hazel. It was fun for the whole family!
Not so much.
More huffing and puffing, and getting really red in the face, and muttering unpleasantness under my breath. He'd try to carry on a conversation with me while we were out running through the neighborhood and all I could do was gasp for air and grunt in response. It was horrible. And I was only up to running 1 mile. Its almost embarrassing how much I sucked at running.
This horrible scene continues for a couple of months, until finally, we arrive at the Houston 5k in January 2011. It was my first race by myself. The hubbs was doing the full marathon. I was nervous...and I had only been able to run 1 mile prior to the day of the race...and I had been sick and busy with the holidays and had stopped running all together for 3 weeks leading up to the race. This was going to be ugly. But I wanted that medal darn it. Then I could hang up my running shoes...or light them on fire...either way.
The plan was to run the 1st mile, walk the 2nd, and run to the finish. If you've read this blog for a while, you know how it went. I armed myself with Pink on Pandora, and set off. I found someone to draft off of, and ran the entire thing. It was slow, but it was steady, and I didn't feel like I was going to die when it was over. And something weird happened during that race. I distinctly remember running down one street in downtown Houston, just trying to breath and keep my feet moving, and the thought hit me, "This isn't so bad...in fact...wait...this is kinda nice..."