Saturday March 19th I went for my longest run yet, well longest run since High School. I remember I started running as a freshmen in high school- mostly because I was thicker than my petite classmates; for some reason I wanted to fit in, that's what high school is all about, right? And so I began running. My parents' housing development is a culdasac and it is exactly 2 miles around. Their house is located just about right in the middle. I would run laps, walk, jog, and run some more. I believe the most I went around was 5 times or 10 miles. Starting out as a way to lose weight, I ran. But, I soon became hooked and I loved my running time- it was my time. I would run late at night or I would run on the hottest days at the hottest times- I did this to challenge to myself and to be obnoxious. The running became something that I had control over during a time when I felt I didn't have control over anything. I would run to my music blaring and let my mind wander. I never ran outside the housing development. I tried to join track one year but I didn't like running with a team on a coach's schedule. I wanted to run when I wanted to run.
High school was a very tumultous time in my life (understatement) with many low points, and my running consistency also became like a roller coaster. But I remember when I did run- I felt my best. I remember listening to my Grandpa and my Grandma Guidosh- their encouraging, proud words I can still hear. "That's my strong girl" "That Megan, she just keeps going and going, good for her". Somedays I was running from something other days I was running in search of something and at times I was running to prove myself and to prove that I could do something. I never ran in any races, I didn't know what a 5k was, I just ran for me.
I went away to college and freshman year I remember running at night on the country roads in Tiffin. I'd run next to the corn feilds during the middle of the night when it was quiet. It was an added challenge not getting scared running next to the corn fields, thinking about Children of the Corn. With college came an expectancy to drink and party and I soon get sucked into that whirlwind and my running died.
Making my way back to my hometown after completeing my Master's Degree I was overweight and unhappy. I had started working out and swimming again towards the end of my stay in Tiffin but I didn't get back to my running quite yet. Once I was back in my familiar surrondings I began running again. Walking, jogging, and then I would come back and finish with a cigarette. Yes, I still smoked at that time.
I quit smoking, found a personal trainer and worked all fall and winter on my strength. I was talked into doing my first triatlon and so it began again. I started running again.
Well it's not life unless there are obstacles and I ran into the same obstacle over and over for 3 years. I tried to run, I completed several triathlons but it was all half-assed. My obstacle didn't like me running and so he knocked me down so low that I was too numb and didn't have the energy to do anything. For more on that you can go back to my first post.
Jump ahead to November 2010. After spending 2010 bouncing back and getting back in shape- I went to Mexico with Olympian Sheila Taromina and my Triathlon coach along with a few other fantastic athletes for a swim and triathlon camp. Everyone went running and they ran so fast.... I would run a little and then walk and catch them on my way back. I came back from the trip eager to gain the abillity to run with my fellow triathletes. All winter long I ran- dreadmill, track, dreadmill, track. I continued to cross trainea nd during the most difficult, unmotivating, cruel season I stayed with it, I kept running. I didnt hibernate!
I decided to sign up for the 1/2 marathon in May. I knew I had to suck up my fear for running in the cold and buy some gear and just get out there. So I ran outside when it was around 28 degrees. No problem, not bad at all. I kept running. I ran my longest distance since high school at the Rocky River Reservation- 6.2 miles under an hour. Wow, I can do this. I then completed a 5k in the snow- ran all the way through! Wow, I can do this.
And so Saturday March 19th I put some water in my parents mailbox ( my condo is like 3 miles from their house) and I geared up for a long run- around the housing development that I ran so many times before. I warmed up from my condo to the start of my parents housing development and I was running..... One time around- peice of cake, I love this. Second time around, I can do this. I run through mile 5- listening to some of the same music I used to run to when I was in high school- that's pretty cool. I pass mile 6 (3rd time around) and I approach mile 7. Suddenly I realize how far I've been running. This is the longest distance yet- since high school. I can do this.....I am doing this. I get choked up and tears roll down my face- happy tears of course. Happy tears because looking back through my past there were so many times when I could've given up, so many times when I could've said I'm too far gone or I'm too out of shape or too tired to do anything. Instead I didn't quit or give up, I moved forward and I am doing. I made it to about 7.5 miles- my longest run yet. 2.5 more miles and I'll be running like I did in high school...... 5.5 more miles and I'll be finishing the half marathon.
At my pace, on my time, when I was ready and when I wanted to, I ran again. I cried because I did it and now I know that I can do it, I can keeping on doing it for as long as I want.
There are times we all have when our lives come to a fork in the road- we can choose to either go down the pity path, the negative path, the bad path, the quit and give up path OR we can chose to go down the tough but rewarding path, the stubborn- I'm never going to give up-, I'm not a quitter path.
I hope you all find the inner strength within you to choose the latter path. Choose the path that is less traveled- choose the positive path and make it happen.
Once you are on that right path- remember to Believe, Love, Understand, and Empower.