Everyone is good at something. Me, I am good at starting things. I am the world’s greatest starter! I start diets, home improvement projects, self-improvement projects, gardens, blogs, businesses- you name it, I have probably started it.
The problem is, I am not that great of a finisher. My list of unfinished undertakings goes on and on. But I have one great success story, and it is the reason I love to run.
10 years ago, I dragged my out of shape, overweight self outside day after day and learned how to run 3 miles. I don’t know what possessed me to do so- I had never been a runner, never had the desire to run before- but I wanted to try. At first I did a lot of walking, but after about a month, I was running the entire 3 miles without stopping to walk at all. I signed up for a Thanksgiving Turkey Trot and guess what? I FINISHED! What a feeling!
Shortly after that 5k, I watched my brother run the Chicago Marathon. I decided then and there that I wanted to run a marathon, too. Never mind the fact that I barely gotten through my 5k, that I had 3 children under the age of 6 and a husband that thought I was insane- I wanted that marathon, and I wanted it bad.
I ran through the winter and spring, and the following summer I began marathon training. I trained in the heat, I trained in the rain, one time I trained in a lightening storm and that was pretty scary! When I got to the really long runs, I got up at 4am and ran before the kids woke up. I remember doing my 20-mile training run and realizing I was in a town that I usually thought took a long time to DRIVE to- and I had run there!
In October of 2001, I finished my one and only marathon in 5:16:14. I’m not your fastest marathon runner, but I might as well have won the Olympic gold.
9 years and 3 children later, I have let running fall by the wayside. I have gotten out of shape, and starting over again has been daunting. I look back at the woman that ran 26.2 miles, and I can’t believe that she was me. But the euphoric memory of my One Big Finish whispers to me that it is possible to get out there and run again and be successful.
I love to run for a lot of reasons. I love to feel myself getting stronger during the training. I love the light-headed, happy, contented feeling I have after finishing a run. I love the camaraderie of other runners during a race. But most of all, I love to finish. I love the feeling of crossing the finish line, no matter what the distance or how long it takes me. Finishing is what makes me start, and it’s what keeps me going when I am tempted to quit.
And that is why I love to run!