I recently realized that I've been a runner, officially, for five (5!) years. This blows my mind. I often get asked how I got started or what made me want to run so here's the story:
In the fall of 2010, at the ripe old age of 7, Nick - our oldest - started running Cross Country. It's a challenging course (and it used to be more-so) of around 1.8 miles. That kid, man. He loves to run and it shows. How? He was ALWAYS last (or darn close to it) but this did not deter him in the least. By the end of the season, he was running the entire course (he was still dead last in most races) and he never complained. Really, NEVER. (He has improved SOOOO much since then but he still enjoys it. I'm glad I let him keep at it and I'm even more glad that I never, ever pushed him in unhealthy ways.)
I figured, if my little guy could run nearly 2 miles, surely I could run 3. Surely!
Back story: I was never a runner. I don't mean that I never ran in an organized sport kinda way (although that is also true), I mean I was that kid who couldn't complete the mile in gym class in under 20 minutes (a state requirement at the time). I always needed the second try. (Confession: Once the gym teacher counted my laps wrong, so I DID pass on the first try...because I only ran 0.75 mile).
My most vivid memory of this was probably my senior year. I can remember a boy from my class sitting on the bleachers watching (because he had passed the first round) and I hear him shout, "She's not breathing! KIM! BREATHE!" No one had ever told me not to hold my breath and sprint. No one had ever explained what the heck "pace" was. No one thought I could do it, so no one bothered to help me. (Sidenote: The kid was Chris McKim. Chris, if you ever happen to read this, just know that I still hear your voice when my breathing gets out of whack. Your voice has carried me through a few rough patches in my half marathons. Thanks for that.)
So now we're at Christmas break 2010 and Greg and I are doing our little shopping excursion alone, meaning sans kids. (I look forward to this every year):
Me: Sooooo...I'm thinking about learning to run.
Greg: "Learning" to run? Don't you already know how to do that? *chuckles*
Me: Yeah, I guess. But I mean to run, like, a race or something. Maybe a 5K.
Greg: Okaaaay. When?
Me: I want to be able to run in the Great Pumpkin Race in the fall with Nick (I had no idea how long it would take to be able to run 3.1 miles)
Greg: That's plenty of time!
Me: Will you support me?
Greg: Of course! (I knew this would be his answer. I picked a good one.)
Greg: What, exactly, does that mean?
Me: Mostly, make sure the kids survive while I'm on the treadmill (We had a 20-month-old, an almost-4-year-old, a 6-year-old, and an almost-8-year-old. This was not a simple request).
And then we went to the Nike store and I bought my first pair of running shoes.
It was a long process. I had support from Greg (obviously), but he couldn't offer a lot of knowledge. I have friends who run and, thankfully, Nick's best friend's mom (also his XC coach and now a good friend of mine) was and is a wealth of knowledge. I probably drove her nuts that first year, but I was scared and I would totally psyche myself out. What if it rains? What if it's hot? What if I get hurt? What if I get lost? (If you know me, those last two are more possible than the first two). She answered all my questions...and started planning for me to run further (I ignored her). Best advice she gave: Get good socks. True story.
But. It did NOT happen overnight. I didn't follow a plan, so I was just winging it. I cried the first time I tried to run a 10:00 mile. I sobbed after my first 3 miles run (THIS IS SO FAR!!!). But I stuck with it and now I'm training for my third half marathon. I'd like to say it's always easy, but I'm a horrible liar, so...it's not. Some days, though, it is. And on those days I don't hesitate for a hot second to say "I AM A RUNNER!"
The point is, when I say that if I can do it, A-N-Y-O-N-E can, it's true. It won't happen overnight. It won't happen in a week. But you can make it happen. So, GO!