Seeds of Running

I wrote the following as a "guest poster" a few weeks ago for Bobbi's Zero to 26.2 blog --I really liked it so thought I might post it again..

I guess this post is a follow up to my post titled "Seeds of Triathlon". While my forays into triathlon had a distinctive Indian source, my introduction into running did not. Like many of you, I ran a bit as a kid here and there. I chased boys around the playground as a small child, although I was often hindered by the need to pull up my knee-high, strawberry shortcake socks.

I wasn't a particularly athletically gifted kid though. I sucked at dodgeball--I mean, really. Being the only brown kid, I guess I stuck out like a sore thumb and became an easy target.
The best thing any baseball, basketball or football teacher ever said to me in elementary school was, "Nice effort". I hated P.E. with a passion, mostly because of the awkwardness and embarrassment of always being chosen last or next to last.

Yeah, I was that kid.

Fast forward a few years--Jr. High. That bastion of hell. By the time my 12th birthday rolled around, I decided that I was going to be smart. Not athletic. Certainly not pretty (no girl thinks they are pretty during Jr.High, do they?). Mandatory P.E. still caused embarrassment, although not to the extent as elementary school.

Then something weird happened. During our usual forced military run during P.E., I decided that I would rather get the darn 1/2 mile run over and done with. And guess what? Instead of being middle of the pack, I was the first girl done. The next time I ran a "bowl" (that's what the 1/2 mile was called) the girls were sent out first. 1 minute later, the boys were sent to chase after us. I decided that I was not going to let any boy pass me; I turned my legs faster and I felt the wind whip through my aqua-netted hair. In the end I almost succeeded--a boy from the Jr. High Track team beat me by 10 seconds. But he was the only one. I remember coming home and telling my dad about my running that day and that I beat everyone except one boy. His response was, "Of course--you have my genes." I didn't know what that exactly meant but for the first time, it dawned on me that I might be good at some athletic endeavor. It blew my mind.

Two years later, I enrolled at high school. One of my friends said to me, "hey, let's go out for cross country." Without a second thought, I said, "Ok". I didn't even know what that would entail. I set out for my first "practice run" on a Saturday afternoon in August. It was probably 105 degrees and I was running on asphalt with no water, old nikes and baggy shorts and a cotton top. Not my best run. Slowly I learned the rules--buy good shoes at fleet feet, not at payless shoes source. Don't wear cotton if you can help it. Drink lots of water before you run. Drink lots of water after you run. Year after year I persevered in my running. I wasn't the fastest and I wasn't the slowest either. That was ok with me-- my expectations had been so low, i was thrilled to be a part of a running team; other things changed in my life though. My social circle became wider, my grades went way up and I was placed in AP classes. All of this I credit to cross country and track.

During college I didn't run with the college team although I did run sporadically on my own. After college, the usual craziness of life took hold and running ceased completely.
Then right around my 27th birthday I (on a dare) ran a race with my mom. Again, it changed my life because it sparked in me that old nostalgic feeling of accomplishment of something I never thought possible. Throughout graduate school I trained for a half marathon or a local 5k. Then after I finished my degree, I registered for every race I could afford. And now I have 2 marathons, 9 half marathons, 1 half-ironman, 2 olympic triathlons, unknown sprint triathlons and 5k's under my belt.

And I have this..

The seeds of running sprouted very well, indeed. Thanks so much for reading!


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