Monday, October 22, 2012

Why do I run?

Cherry Pit Ten Miler
One of my very best race days!
You would actually be surprised by how often I get this question and I never really have just one answer, it usually depends on what day you ask me and where I am in my training.

About seven years ago my sister Kim told me that she was going to run a marathon and I think my response was not your typical congratulatory cheer and shout of encouragement, in fact, it sounded *exactly* like, “What????  Are you stupid or something?  Did mom and dad drop you on your head as an infant and forget to mention it to the rest of us?” 

Clearly I am the bitchy sister.

Kim trained for and ran in many marathons, over time I became more supportive but was secretly cheering my obviously superior IQ (because really, 26.2 miles for fun, I mean that’s just asinine).

Then I got cancer…

Turns out I never ran because I had large (HUGE) breasts.  Deep down I knew that the four bras I had to wear for field hockey and teaching step aerobics dug deep into my shoulders, but I was in shape, I figured I could run if I wanted to, I just did not want to.  The only time I ran was when a team I was playing on lost…then I did laps.  Lots of boobie bouncing, shoulder blistering laps.

Back to the cancer. 

After a double mastectomy and a huge breast reduction (I went from a duckpin bowling ball to about a tennis ball) I was very slow returning to my normal exercise regimen.  I was only allowed to walk and since I had a 7 month old baby girl, she took her morning and afternoon naps in the stroller.  I healed and progressed, eventually I was walking 12-16 miles each day.  Then I got bored, so I started jogging to one mailbox and walking to the next, as I continued to recover the walking portions became much shorter than the jogging portions.

After a year I was going for regular runs.  I still thought a marathon was a ridiculous distance and I was going to just stick to running 7-10 miles a day like any *sane* person would do.  My run became a very necessary part of my day, my personal time, I had been through a lot and needed the one thing a run always offered me, a quiet mind. 

Over time I began running with friends and they told me I was doing quite well but I never really thought about it as a sport, it was honestly my outlet, the only time I was not feeling scared and anxious.  I had not discovered the joy of wine and I had quit smoking years earlier.  It was literally my only vice (not a bad one, right?).

I had a friend encourage me to run the Cherry Blossom Miler in 2010 this was my very first race, I ran it in 1:22:16 and thought nothing of it.  I took it easy, enjoyed the course and loved being surrounded by people who loved running as much as I did.

Overall Female Champion...Lucky Number!
The next weekend however I had an epiphany.  One of the biggest local races we have is the Run for Hospice and I chose to run the 10K, it was just for fun and the whole community is out for this amazing event.  The biggest surprise for me was finishing as the 2nd overall female in the race (only 2nd to my good friend who is one of the fastest female runners I have ever met).  At this point I decided to explore running as a sport rather than just my own personal happy place.

I have continued my running and expanded it in ways that at one time I thought were crazy (now I KNOW they’re crazy) I win some, I lose some, but I always learn a lot.  I know that I am happiest when I am running and that my sister had it all wrong, her mistake was in settling for a marathon.

Why on earth would you run a marathon when there are ULTRA MARATHONS?  This year I qualified for The Boston Marathon and will run it in April.  After that I plan to stick with the smaller, lower key events.  The kind or races where you meet the other runners and learn what their motivation is, how their life and running brought them to this place. 

Since beginning this journey (2 ½ years ago) I have run three 10Ks, two 10 milers, two ½ marathons, five marathons, four 50K’s, a few longer distances which just make me sound crazy, and too many 5K’s to count. 

Clearly I lost my marbles at some point but it is the one activity that keeps me grounded and is just for me.  I have found my happy place and I am going to run with it.

If you’re a runner, what’s your motivation?

Have you ever thought someone was crazy for doing something and then not only done the stupid thing, but loved it so much that you even took it to the next level of stupid?


  1. There is nothing stupid about ultras. :)

    You're in to run Hellgate with me in 2013, right? ;P

    1. Oh yes...I actually had planned to do Hellgate this year and couldn't train and have surgery...sadly I had to have surgery. I heard that one year someone's eyeball cool is that?

  2. I'm a friend of Kara's and found your blog through her. I normally don't leave comments. Your story is incredible, to say the least. I admire your strength! I run for health, both mental and physical. Like you, I found running (I had been just a 5k girl before) in 2010 and it also gets me to my happy place. I think it helps me be a better mom. Keep it up!....Kim

    1. Thanks Kim, I am having a blast writing this all down. It is actually reminding me how blessed I have been, what amazes me is the human body and how much it is capable of.
      Thanks for your kind words.

  3. Hi,

    I have a quick question about your blog, would you mind emailing me when you get a chance?