The question I get asked most often is “How did you get started running?” I often question if this comes from their wondering if I am crazy for running or a secret desire they have to run themselves.
For years I had that secret desire to want to run, but I told myself what many of us say, “I am just not built to run.” Well there are very few people who are actually built to run in the Olympics or to actually win the marathon. But the only thing that keeps the rest of us from running was the best kept secret. One day a friend and I were walking and she looked at me and said, “Jen when you decide you can be a runner, then you can be a runner.” That hit me like a ton of bricks. So after a while I decided I could be a runner.
I began running around my half mile block. I would run one length and then walk the next. I will admit once I got to the other end of each block that I ran I wanted to roll on the ground and gasp for breath. It did get easier (really you cannot say you hate running till you can go more than three miles, but that is another post). I’ll never forget my first two mile run; my oldest daughter rode her bike right beside me and encouraged me the entire way. Then the mileage just grew from there.
Once moving to Florida I decided to take running to a new level and sign up for a race. I began with a 15K (9.3 miles). I was hooked. So I signed up for a half marathon. I was not as prepared as I thought I was and it was the worst race experience ever. I promised I would never run again. Sam, my husband, then bought me running gear for Christmas so I felt I had to run again and wanted to run a marathon.
I thought it would be best to join a running group to try for that distance. While searching I came across the fantastic group of Team in Training (a fundraising program of the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society). As I began to look into their program I was also receiving emails about a sweet girl in Texas that was undergoing treatment for Leukemia. Then one day the two collided. I received a call from the Team in Training office about there upcoming season and later that day I received the email that this young girl lost her battle. I took this as my sign to take the step and join.
This has been one of the best decisions I have ever made. I have made friends that I will have for a lifetime and friends that understand what it is like to see someone go through cancer treatments and lose there battle.
So my secret desire to run has got me across many finish lines and each one carries its own stories, emotions and accomplishments. I cannot close without encouraging you. Whether it is to run or whatever your secret desire is to do. Decide you can do it and make a difference. You will not be disappointed.