I Live To Run & I Run To Live
The truth behind my running story goes back to my childhood. My mother passed away at age 53 only a week before I started high school. It was one of the toughest things I ever had to go through at 14 years old. I spent the next year of my life kind of feeling down and depressed if you want to call it that. I simply didn't know how I would go on. My friends, although supportive, didn't really know what to say to me. After all, they still had both of their parents. I felt like an anomaly really. Everyone around me (well, outside my immediate family) was happy, except for me. My Mom and I didn't have the best relationship but what can you expect when you are only 14? Nevertheless, it was still devastating to lose her. A couple of weeks prior to her death, she had a heart attack and was admitted to the hospital where she stayed for about a week. I remember telling her "Mom, you could have died." She agreed and there we were only a couple of weeks later in late August dealing with her untimely death. She was a smoker, a bit overweight, had heart disease, diabetes and high blood pressure. I vowed to not follow in her footsteps.
I proceeded to enter high school and simply survive my freshman year. As I was about to enter my sophomore year, one of my good friends encouraged me to run cross country. I thought "Run? For Fun?" It seemed like an oxymoron but I did it anyway. I felt after a year of feeling down, maybe this is what I needed was to get out and do something other than wallow in self-pity for the cards that have been dealt to me. I ran cross country that year and the year after that and what the heck, I ran winter and spring track too for the rest of my high school years. My coaches were great, they encouraged me and saw something in me (when I clearly didn't). I became a "runner" and competed. I ran anything and everything (55m, 100m, 200m, 300m, 400m, relays, 600m, 800m, 1600m, 3200m, threw the javelin). I wasn't the fastest person on the team, but I was at least average. (Well I ran an 8 second 55m and 14.1 for 100m.) I laugh now because I train so much harder now in middle age than I ever did then and I'm a much faster runner NOW, 30 years later!! I ran at times during college and then in my young adult life to keep in some kind of shape. When I was pregnant with my son & second daughter, I had gestational diabetes and my doctor told me if I kept active it would help to keep adult-onset diabetes at bay. I started running road races here and there in my 30's and I really became committed to running races in my 40's. I think something happens to you then. You realize this is my life, the only one I have got and I better not screw it up and I absolutely loved competing with myself. I loved seeing how much faster I could be if I ran harder and longer. It became a fun game to me as I approached middle-age. And forget it, once I ran a half-marathon (picture above from 2014) and got hooked, I found a deeper level of commitment to myself and my health. Then I said, what the heck, try to do a marathon. That concept seemed so far-fetched for me at the time, but I did it anyway. I wanted the challenge of conquering it. And once you conquer one, well then, you must conquer two. Then three and then try to do it better, faster than before. Now I'm approaching marathon #20. Who would have ever thought. It became fun to figure out how to be the best that you can be. I don't care that I'm not the best marathoner ever. I still marvel at anyone who is faster than me, but I also beam with pride at anyone who goes the distance, because it is so far to run or walk. For me, I am going to do this as long as humanly possible because I just love it and it's fun. That's why I do it and why I am out there every single day. I do it completely for myself and my health plus I have this deep desire to reach my own running peak. I want to know that I gave it everything I got - just like the PATRIOTS - our Super Bowl Champs!!!