I’ll start today’s post with a story. Oh yeah, story time! Gather around kids…..
This story is about how I met my husband, Dave. Not that long ago, although it feels like it some times, I was in college at Illinois State University studying biochemistry. And the great thing about this university is that the classes were small. Soon, I started noticing this smart (well kinda a smart ass) guy in our study group. He knew his organic chemistry and I thought, I better get to know him as I suck at organic chemistry. But what I also noticed was that he was a runner, something I was not, at the time. One problem though. He was dating someone else and so was I. Looking back, I remember saying to myself I wish I could find someone like him because he was so good to his girlfriend. A short time passed and serendipitously (big word huh?), we both broke up with our significant others the same week!
So, this has got to be fate, right?! I began my plot to get him to notice me. I found myself in places I knew he would be. I would study or eat lunch in the same places. I went out to the same bars with the same group of friends. And you better believe it worked! We went to movie to console our broken hearts as friends. Then came that awkward phase of are we dating or not for awhile. And this is where his love for running and my desire to hook this guy comes in.
He was training for the 2004 Chicago Marathon. And anyone that knows running knows that this means lots of miles to run. Now, keep in mind, this girl had never run a voluntary mile in her life. Of course, I’ve run the miles you had to in gym class. But that’s it! I was never a runner. Dave says….. “want to run it with me?” And of course, I want to impress this guy. I ‘m not going to say no! So my response: “Sure I’d love to!”………..What the hell did I get myself into?!?!
Fast forward about 3 months and it’s race day. I successfully completed my very first marathon (in 5 1/2 hours) and also hooked the guy that would later become my husband. I would like to think his love for running brought us together. In the process, I did eventually catch the running bug. But that first race was miserable. I didn’t train right, we didn’t put enough miles in and I made some pretty rookie mistakes. But that’s what the first race is always about, something to learn from. I completed my very first race, the marathon, at 195lbs. After losing my weight, my passion for running was really ignited. As the weight came off, the miles got easier and quicker. My next Chicago Marathon in 2009 was much faster at 3 hours and 23 minutes. Talk about a PR (personal record). I find it funny that my first race was a marathon and to this day I’ve only run one 5K. Kinda backwards, huh?
Over the past 11 years of running with my husband, we’ve shared countless miles together, raced in so many states and in iconic races. I’ve learned lots of things from him like don’t compare yourself to other runners, be stubborn in your pursuit of your goals and never doubt your ability to push through tough workouts amongst so many other things. We’ve also learned things the hard way. Like, don’t push through a 14 mile long run when you’ve fallen at mile 2 and your knee is now the size of a softball with a torn MCL. Dave did that, not me. Or don’t run sprint intervals on a rough jagged sidewalk at 5am in the dark. You will fall. That was me although I came out of it uninjured!
In honor of National Running Day, I’ll share my thoughts about running as it’s a large part of my life. Running has taught me a lot about being patient and working toward a goal. It’s also humbled me many times and more importantly taught me how to re-group and recover from a bad run, or recover from an injury or set back. Currently, I’m facing the most humbling part of my running life. I had my first daughter, Corrine, in 2013. I was lucky and could run well into my pregnancy. But I lost my running speed. During my time in between pregnancies, I raced 2 marathons. Seven months postpartum, I ran the 2014 Boston Marathon and then the Chicago marathon in the fall. I ran them well below my current personal best and blamed it all on lack of fitness. And now, being pregnant again, running has been completely absent since December 2014 and I miss it!
When I see a runner on the street or at the gym, I wonder how many miles they are going for and how is their run going. I see my runner friends posting on Facebook about their long runs with a small amount of envy. But you better believe I’ll be out there running again once little Joelle makes her appearance. And be sure to follow along as I tackle my next running goal….. yet to be determined 🙂
So get out there run some miles for me today!