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When I was in high school, I made fun of the long distance runners on our track team (who also comprised our cross country team.) True, this was mostly due to the fact that some of them were my closest friends so tearing the mickey out of them came naturally but I did find it ridiculous that anyone would voluntarily run that far, that often, on purpose. Incidentally, I am now married to one of those same long distance runners. (Who knew?!?)

When I started dating Andy he was finishing up training for an Ironman. I believe one of the first questions I was asked by a mutual friend of ours was “Does this mean you are going to start doing triathalons?” To which I replied a firm “No.” I hate swimming for exercise and nothing will ever change that. I also believe that the trainer for the bike was invented by the devil himself. Or at least by some guy who wanted to invent a way to train indoors that was so mindnumbingly torturous it would make you forget about how saddle sore you were becoming. But I digress….

When we started dating I had never run farther than 3 miles and had no desire to explore further distances. However, I recently found myself having a very strange conversation with Andy that involved words like “shot blocks” and “hydration belt.” I had completed my longest run, to date, that morning. It was a laborious 7 miles pushing Lilly in the jogger, in headwinds. I think I burned 2 million calories in the 3 1/2 miles of headwinds alone. But I did it! And I started looking forward to 8, 9, and 10 mile runs, hence the conversation about shot blocks (now on my dresser, ready for next Saturday’s long run!). I have found myself wondering, ‘How did I get here?’ Mid-run nutrition and hydration is for runners. You know, people who RUN. When did that become me? I thought I would catalog a few of the highlights along the way. If nothing else, it might help me gain some clarity of how I ended up here!

  • First off, I found myself looking like this after Lilly was born. I HATE this photo! I almost can’t believe I’m posting it on the internet, but it was my motivation to start running. (Trinity was getting over being sick when we brought Lilly home so she had to wear the surgical mask around her!)
  • The start of my running is best described by one of my all-time favorite posters I’ve seen on pinterest: Yup. This sums it up!
  • About a year after I started running – treadmill only at that point! – Andy tricked me into going for a run outside together. (I had a weird fear of running outside. For more on that see: http://sarahsjoys.com/2011/08/28/overcoming-seeds-of-self-doubt/). Then he tricked me into doing a 10K together. This required running twice as far as I ever had before! Bless his heart, he stayed with me the whole time. Okay…he MAY have been under threat of sleeping outside and cooking for himself if he abandoned me during my first race ever, but it meant a lot that he set his pride aside and ran with me instead of running his own race! He even let me cross the line first:
  • I took a hiatus from running for a while. I can’t really say that I missed it at that point. But it turns out that I can’t actually eat every Christmas treat in sight, not workout, and then step on the scale without it giving me a very disapproving look. So…as of February 1st…back to running it was!
  • No more excuses. This winter I went running outside in 22 degree weather! I started to wonder WHY I was doing this until I thought to myself: Would I rather live in a day and age when I need to go running to stay healthy, or would I prefer to burn those calories spending hours by a freezing riverbed, beating laundry against rocks? I’ll take the running, thank you! Suddenly it didn’t seem so bad. I think this was a turning point for me.
  • Almost every time I go for an outdoor run, I look up at our beautiful mountains and it never fails…I get a tear in my eye for how blessed we are to live in such an amazing place, and how blessed I am to have the time, energy, and health, to get outside and run. Another turning point. Was I actually enjoying this? Here are my mountains, aren’t they beautiful?
  • That brings us up to this past week! I ran 7 miles all at once. I know it’s not impressive compared to people who run marathons, or do Ironmans, but for me, it’s pretty great! Do you want to see my view of the world after I completed my 7 mile run? That’s right…I laid down on the ground and stared up at the sky. I’d love to tell you I was just savoring the moment…but I was BEAT! Burning 2,000,997 calories in one run will do that to a girl.
  • I still find it hard to “label” myself a runner. But I am doing it, and I am enjoying it, so who’s laughing now? Me I guess…at the irony that I, who made fun of all my distance-running guy friends in high school, am now a runner! There. I said it. Does that make it true? :)
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