I moved from California to Ohio between my freshman and sophomore years of high school and joined the cross country team to become involved in my new school. I had never been a fast runner, but in my unrealistic teenage thinking, my change of location would make me the fastest one on the team. I was the slowest member of the team, and I experienced significant knee pain. My high school cross country career ended after one season in 1983, and I never thought I’d run a race again.
My husband began running for exercise and recreation in the fall of 2009 when our children were in their senior year of high school. He enjoyed it, but I resented the time and money he spent on his new hobby. I had allowed the excuse of busyness and raising a family derail me from a regular exercise routine, and I had steadily put on nearly 80 pounds since my cross-country days. Running was the last thing on my mind or to-do list. Nearly three years later, when he couldn’t run a 5k for which he had registered, he asked me if I would walk it with him. I was surprised how much I enjoyed it. In fact, as I approached the finish line, I joyfully broke out into a sprint over the finish line. I was hooked!
On my first solo run, I could only run one block before I had to stop and walk. I would head out a few days a week and increase my distance each time. I finally could start running 5k races. My husband was supportive, and it strengthened our marriage that we could share this hobby, even though he was much faster than I was. He began running half-marathons and even a full marathon, but I was content to jog no further than 3.1 miles.
After some severe health setbacks, I became determined to complete longer distances. My husband and I signed up to walk a half marathon as he recovered from injury and I recovered from illness. We crossed the finish line of the Running with the Bears half marathon in 4 hours and 23 minutes on August 15, 2015. Since then I’ve gone on to run a number of 10k races and 2 more half marathons.
It isn’t easy to lace up my running shoes in the early morning when I’d rather be in my warm, comfortable bed, but I’ve never regretted the decision to exercise once I’m dressed and out on the road. I have dropped 60 pounds and gained great confidence. The stress melts away as my feet move to the beat of the worship music playing in my wireless headphones. I’ll never be the fastest, leanest runner of the pack, but I am faster and leaner than I used to be, and I am thankful to run the race set before me.