Tomorrow I am running a half marathon. 13.1 miles. This might not seem noteworthy to some… hell, it doesn’t even seem all that noteworthy to me sometimes--- isn’t it crazy when you get to the point where you think to yourself “Oh—I ONLY have 13 on the schedule for today. No biggie.” Crazy!). But, this isn’t just any half marathon. It isn’t just any 13.1 miles.
Tomorrow is my run-aversary. See, it was just 1 short year ago, tomorrow, that I ran my first ever race. Really, the first time I ran… ever. Sure, I WALKED a 5K a year before and, sure, I ran a mile here or there for gym or when I REALLLLLY wanted to push myself during a workout during grad school… but, nothing ever more than 1 mile here or there.
|This is NOT me during my first race... I just thought I'd throw in some running pics to help spice up the post a little so it has SOME pics. You're welcome.|
So, for all intensive purposes and now, “officially” (because I said so and I’m the boss. Duh.) the 2011 Memorial Sunburst Race in South Bend, IN was my first ever race. 1 year ago tomorrow was the first time I ever RAN.
And, it was by accident.
Short version of the story? A friend of mine asked me if I wanted to WALK the Sunburst Fun Walk 5K (the Sunburst has a 5K fun walk, 5K run, 10K, Half, and Full). I said sure! She bailed (for good reason). I still showed. I ended up running all 3.1 miles. End of story.
Longer version? When I got the start line, I was going to walk. I really was. I had been going to the gym pretty consistently for a couple months up to that point, but I was NOT a runner. I didn’t run. I had bad knees. I COULDN’T run. It was WAY too far. I didn’t have a runners body. I hadn’t practiced. I Just. Did. Not. Run.
Then, the atmosphere started getting to me. It wasn’t even a RUNNING race, and yet everyone was excited and energetic. I thought to myself “OK… let’s run. I know you can’t do this, but let’s give it a go for a few feet, then you can walk the rest.”
So, the gun went off and I started to “run”. I’m not even sure if you can call it “run”. Definitely more like jog. We’ll call it “run” for self-preservation sake. I didn’t have fancy $100+ running shoes. I didn’t even know what a sweat wicking shirt was. I certainly had never even heard the term “Garmin” before, except when referred to as a CAR gps. But, I ran. Every few seconds I’d think “Ok, Meagan. Just keep going til that <insert random object here… tree, person, lawn chair, house with the red door.. whatever>. Then, you can stop and walk.”
But, I never stopped. I just kept that up and before I knew it I was thinking “Oh my God! It’s been TWO miles! You’ve been running for TWO miles—STRAIGHT! Keep it up!!” and then “HOLY SHIT! You’re at the 3 mile mark! No WAY! That’s gotta be a mistake… but, there’s the Notre Dame stadium! OH MY GOD! YOU MADE IT! KEEP GOING! The finish is RIGHT there!!!!!!!!! WEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!!!!!”
And, I crossed the finish line. Running.
Again, this is NOT me during the 2011 Sunburst. It's me during a different race. Whatever. It's me. I'm running. And, there's even a finish line (see the chalk?? DUH!). Use your imagination.
I have NO idea what time I got… likely like 36+ minutes. Like I said, it was more JOGGING than running. But, WHATEVER! I FINISHED! It was my very first runners high. I still vividly remember walking back into my apartment to find the Hubs still fast asleep (the bum!) and jumping on the bed screaming about how excited I was and how I DIDN’T STOP.
I ran. 3.1 glorious miles. I RAN. Me. RAN.Woah.
This was earth shattering. I mean… I could RUN?!?! When did that happen? How did that happen? I ran. I honestly couldn’t believe it. If I could run 3.1 miles, could I run 4? Or 5? Could I become a RUNNER? Woah. I was spinning inside my head with all thoughts RUNNING.
So, the next day I put back on my beat up pair of Nikes (likely 3+ years old. Seriously.), grabbed my iPod, and ran. Again. I have no idea how far… I tried to gauge by number of songs/time—but, really… who knows. I just ran.
And, a few days later, ran again. And again. And again.
Several races, a Garmin, some fancy shoes, countless hours of blog stalking, Gu’s, BodyGlide, and who knows what else later… I’m still running.
I have no pictures from my first race. I didn't even keep the race bib. I had NO idea just how much the 2011 Sunburst would change my life. But, it did. In pretty much every way imaginable.
1 year ago tomorrow, I ran for the first time.
1 year ago tomorrow, I learned I COULD run.
1 year ago tomorrow, I became a runner.
Today, I am a runner.
Look at that cheeseball smile. Yes, it's true. Here's photographic proof: I LOVE RUNNING!!
In 1 year I was able to increase my speed and distance more than I ever thought possible and I am now training for a MARATHON. Freaking crazy! I might not be the fastest or have the best form or be able the run the farthest... whatever. I am a runner. Sunburst made me see that. So, tomorrow, me and the Sunburst will be reunited, only this year as my second official half-marathon.
Sunburst, you've been amazing to me. I wouldn't be who I am today if it weren't for you. Me and Sunburst?? We're gonna celebrate in style tomorrow. Can't wait. Will I get a PR? Will it be the best race ever? Who knows. I honestly don't even care. I just want to spend the 13.1 miles being grateful for everything this race taught me, thinking about everything this sport has given me, and reflecting over just how far I've come over the last 365 days.
So, Sunburst, I'll see you again tomorrow. It's been a long, amazing year. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.
Happy (early) run-aversary to me!!