I can’t explain it.
Where does this relentless need inside of me to run far, to test my limits, to fully and completely exhaust myself come from?? It seemed to materialize out of nowhere.
I grew up obsessed with academics, not athletics.
My family members worked and worked hard, but never “worked out.”
I was a teacher and a wife and then a stay-at-home mother, not an athlete.
But six years ago, something clicked. That first mile run changed me, and quickly became 3, then 6, then 13, then 26. Soon I had to know what it felt like beyond 26. Now, I know how 31 and 38 feel. Honestly, not that much worse. As ultramarathoner Ann Trason says, “It hurts up to a point, and then it doesn’t get any worse.” I want to experience 40 miles, 50 miles, and probably someday, I’ll want to run 100. (Which is a really ridiculous premise when you think about it.)
This drive to run defines me. When I run into friends at the grocery store, “Are you still running?” or “What are you training for?” are the first questions, even before, “How are Chris and the kids?” People mainly try to relate to me through running. It makes me feel a bit one-dimensional at times. I posted a picture on Facebook that said, “Running isn’t my life, it just enriches and enhances the life I have.” A good friend (who is also very honest) replied, “You sure about that?”
At my twenty-five year high school reunion last weekend, a friend asked, “So how many miles did you run today before you came here?” (The answer was 14.) Another one told me that of everyone in our senior class, I was the last one she’d have picked to be running marathons in my 40’s. I laughed and had to agree.
Speaking of the 40’s, next week is my birthday. Not a major one, no new age group or anything. I am patiently waiting for that 45th one though, because then I can fathom the remote possibility of qualifying for Boston (I would still have a LONG way to go pace wise…. I mean a really, really LONG way to go).
For now, I’ll just accept my little running obsession. It has grown to be an inherent part of me, part of my soul. I have an intense need to be outdoors, to move, to feel the sun on my face and the ground under my feet. I have to set goals and fight to achieve them to feel complete. I pray that my priorities aren’t too skewed, that I’m not neglecting the things that matter for this thing that drives me. Right now, I'm trying to find that happy medium, to strike a balance. Work. In. Progress.