Sometimes, when I take a step back, past-Lauren hardly recognizes the person I am now. When I really think about it, I’m still somewhat alarmed by the way I feel about running.
Just now, I was thinking about how excited I am to try my first run back (maybe a mile or two) tonight. And I remember that ten years ago, you couldn’t have paid me to run two miles. And here I am with four marathons under my belt, itching to get back to training after some health-mandated time off.
How did I get here? Let’s go back.
My first athletic endeavor was Mansfield Youth Soccer when I was just six years old. I played soccer for the three years we lived in Massachusetts — kindergarten, first, and second grade. Honestly, I was no good. Even for a little kid. My mom used to put big clippy bows in my hair and I’d get them stuck in the net when I played goalie. Mostly, I liked snacktime and playing with the other kids.
I love that photo of me playing soccer because I can pretend I was this intense little kid, watching the game, dying to get back in. That’s not true for one second.
When we moved from Massachusetts to Illinois, there was no more co-ed soccer for little kids. I told my parents I thought it was stupid that I’d have to play with all girls and promptly decided to quit. (I make good choices.) I took dance class, and I suffered through gym. That was about it.
When I was in high school, my dad and aunt started running marathons for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society’s Team in Training. I thought they were incredible, and I loved cheering them on at the races. Spectating at marathons was exciting and fun. I was in awe of everyone running. I was also convinced that they were all super-human and I could never be like them.
I was still getting pep-talks from my dad to survive the mile run in gym class.
In college, I’d occasionally sign up for a 5k and just hobble my way through it pathetically. I didn’t train at all, which made running 3.1 miles kind of a nightmare for the girl who never worked out.
And then Goose’s brother ran the 2006 Chicago Marathon.
Since I hadn’t grown up idolizing him as I had my dad, I couldn’t make excuses anymore. If Nick could do it, so could I. On that day, I decided I was going to run the 2007 Chicago Marathon.
I ran for a few months without telling anyone, and when I was sure I could do it, I told my parents. They took me shopping for my first real pair of running shoes, and the rest is history. I joined Team in Training. Goose and I did my first “I’m a serious runner now” race, the 2007 Shamrock Shuffle.
Little by little, I accumulated all those races you see on the tab above.
Now, running is just something I do. It’s something I miss when I can’t do it, and something I do for me. For fun. But every once in a while, it’s nice to look around and realize how far I’ve come.
What’s your running story? How did you get to where you are today? Were you always a runner, or did something inspire you to become one?