I remember the day that we met. I went to the gym after a long, grueling shift working in the newsroom. Mostly for me, the gym was my happy place of sorts. Work was always stressful (as you can imagine, working behind the scenes for local tv with breaking news and such) and I would always come to the gym READY to let off some steam. So, the treadmill became my BFF. I would hop on there, warm up and then go off and do my weights and whatever else looked good at the time. One day, my warm up ended up being a 1 mile run. I don’t know – I guess that day I just got lost on how good it felt to run for just a little bit longer. Then, one day – 1 mile magically became 2. Then, 3. Actually, the day I ran 3 miles was a monumental day. I remember texting a friend and being OH SO EXCITED that I had just done 3 miles on the treadmill, without stopping. It made me wonder, how much longer could I go? The feeling of accomplishment was overwhelming.
One day, after 3 years of working in the newsroom I got laid off. It was a blessing in disguise after I started to become burned out by the doom and gloom that local news showcases. Being unemployed left me with A LOT OF TIME on my hands. And I used a lot of that time to go to the gym and work out. So, one day, an opportunity presented itself to do a social run with a group at a running store. After walking by this particular store one day for the 30th time I decided to bite the bullet and go to the run. I was one of the SLOWEST runners there. Running, you and I have not always gotten along. But I stayed persistent and patient with you and was determined – to get better. I remember that day I did my first social run and being the last person to finish. And also, how SORE I was! Wow. My entire body kind of hurt after running in the heat. But still, somehow, I liked the feeling at the end. Running, you have a way of doing that to me – the highs and lows. I like ‘em both.
So, during that run a runner told me that I should sign up with some of them to train for a half marathon. A WHAT?! 13.1 miles – I mean really, how do people even do that? WHY do people even do that?? Still, the crazy thought swirled around in my head a bit. And then, after going home and thinking about it…the idea somehow intrigued me. This was the first time I had actually tried to go after a goal – that seemed really far out of my reach. I was in my 20s at the time, a few short years out of college and really just starting to experience life. As an only child, I grew up fairly sheltered and always told that I should ‘take caution’ with things. So this idea, was somehow liberating and exciting. It was something I was doing, for myself, by myself and I just wanted to tackle it and let’s see what happens.
So, I embarked on this journey with you, running. With you and with this incredible group of people that I still keep in touch with, to this day. They have seen me blossom into the ultra runner that I am today. A girl in her 20s that signed up hesitantly for a half marathon, turned into a full marathon runner and now trail ultrarunner (that still dabbles in road races from time to time). For all of the experiences and friendships along the way, I am certainly grateful. I ended up landing a sweet gig as a producer in Christian tv around this time as well, which was amazing. Everything was coming together.
Running, you have enabled me to travel to places and see things that I otherwise would not have seen. Through rocks and roots and pavement, I have somehow discovered who I am and it has made me better. Running has healed me from broken friendships, relationships, and family trauma. It has seen me through triumphs like running 100 miles on a trail and enduring other crazy feats in life.
I can’t wait to see where you take me next, running.
What are some things you would write in your LOVE letter to running?