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mother. marathoner. blogger. reader.

Monday, November 21, 2011

My Love Affair with Running

True to the title of my fabulous blog I run slowly, even when I'm not pushing an extra 60 pounds. Ironically, I was once dubbed the fastest soccer player on Staten Island (of course my high school track coach said that but hey you take what you can get). I was a sprinter; able to cross small distances pretty quickly. I hated cross country and used every excuse conceivable to get out of running. Ouch my foot hurts. See the trainer. Ouch my knee hurts. See the trainer. By the time indoor track season rolled around the trainer and I were on a first name basis. The lure of soccer stardom led me away from high school track and I spent the next couple of years flirting with running but never making a commitment.

Fast forward to 2003 when I made the insane pronouncement that I was going to run a marathon before my husband graduated from graduate school. This marks my descent into marathon madness, though it took another three years before I got serious. I ran 2 halfs in 2006, Philadelphia and Staten Island, and made my first attempt to get in to the New York City Marathon. For those who don't know NY is no joke. Everyone wants to run NY. Seriously everyone. Including famous people. I doubt that Katie Holmes, Lance Armstrong, Apollo Ohno, and Mario Lopez had to go through the lottery like the rest of us poor slow fools. It took me 5 tries to get in. Yes, you read that right. For 5 years I faithfully applied to the NYC marathon and every year was turned down until 2010. I was, however, pregnant with my daughter and deferred until 2011.

Meanwhile, while I was dealing with self esteem issues ("why don't they want me? Its because I'm slow. They think I'm too slow. They saw my anticipated finish time and laughed me right out of the lottery.") I ran 2 other marathons, Cincinnati and Charlotte. Cincinnati was a hot mess. I made EVERY single rookie mistake you could think of. I carried a bottle of Gatorade with me for the entire race, 26.2 miles, and didn't drink a single drop. It's a miracle I crossed the finish line. I literally dragged myself from mile 18 by sheer will power.

Charlotte was a whole other story. By that time, my son was over a year old and we were living in Northeastern Georgia. Suddenly being a slow runner took on a whole new meaning. Being slow and training for a marathon means a lot of hours running. A lot of hours spent away from my family. A 20 mile training run can take me up to 4 hours to complete. Even if I get up before the sun I'm still not back until right before lunch. It is a sacrifice not only for me but for my husband who for several hours a week becomes a single father.

So why do it? Why spend hours running, dealing with painful big toe joints, black toenails, and sweat pimples? For the fame? HA! I'll never set any records and I certainly won't win any races (not even a small 5k. Not even in my age category in a small 5k). For the glory? They tell you pain is temporary but glory is forever but its kind of hard to revel in the glory when you have 4 loads of laundry to do and a 3 1/2 who refuses to use the potty unless he can play Angry Birds (he beats my high score regularly).

No, I do it because I need to and because I can. God has blessed me with two beautiful children but He has also blessed me with two working legs so that I can get away from them. I'm not a supermom; I don't decorate homemade birthday cakes or sew Halloween costumes. I'm not crafty and we don't have a glue stick in the house. They fight and I get mad, they cry and I get frustrated. We're not the Cosbys'. (extra points if you can tell me what movie that line comes from). Running makes it better. Training makes it bearable and crossing a marathon finish line makes it all worth it. My kids know I run and although right now they're too young to know why, someday they will know its because they drive me to it.

I figure its better then an alcohol addiction.             

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