I came to running through brute force. I was working for a non profit that paired high school students to run a half or a full marathon. I started off as a mentor in the 15 min / mile pace group as it was always a struggle to find mentors who were willing to run that slow. Let’s just ignore that was probably my actual pace. I really enjoyed running with those girls (the boys would injure themselves just to not be in the ‘slow’ group) – and we crossed the finish line together. My parents came all the way out to Chicago to cheer us on.
I thought ‘the mile’ was a torture device inflicted on each student to pass out of each year’s gym class. I churned my little legs until my chest felt like it’s explode because I was constantly sprinting, fatiguing, walking and sprinting again. My face turned its favorite color of crimson and I willingly played defense so I could run less. Running was punishment, like the wind sprints you earned if you talked out of turn at basketball practice.
About a week ago, I had transient running experience and it sort of hit my why I keep doing this thing. I was on a short run (after M and I did a 9) and my legs felt like they were moving thru applesauce. I still turned in an 11:30 and then passed a home day care house with five or six kids playing outside. One little girl looks at me and goes ‘why is she running?!’ For some reason they gave chase and I told them if they wanted to run, they better keep up. They made it to the corner before turning around.
Once you cross a finish line – or hell, even just cheer at one – you know you’re doing it again. There is such a high that just finishing brings, you sign up for another race before it fades and suddenly you’re a runner.