As I sit at my desk and ponder what the new year and new decade will hold for myself and my family, I can't help but marvel at how fast the past ten years flew by! When we entered the new millenia it was with a sense of trepidation...remember Y2K? What a joke that turned out to be...were you among the many who horded food and water, moved to the country anticipating the need for a simpler life, did you empty your bank accounts...all of which proved to be totally pointless. My family entered the year 2000 with a freshman in high school and a first grader...ten short years later we have a grown woman and a young woman in her Sophomore year of high school! We are 2.5 years away from an empty nest and truly looking forward to it and dreading it all at the same time. Life and time march on at an increasingly rapid pace these days. As I think about the past decade I think what have I accomplished, who have I influenced?
In my running life I ran three marathons and numerous 5K and 10K races in the first decade of the new century. All fetes I never in my wildest dreams thought I would accomplish prior to 2000! If you had asked my parents and brother if T. would complete those goals they would have laughed out loud at the thought. You see I was not the least bit athletic growing up...Dad would tease me about my lack of skill throwing a baseball...I did participate in sports in high school as the trainer and equipment manager. There was never much encouragement for girls in our family to be physically fit or athletic. Girls were to be smart and pretty. Well I was smart and OK looking which is when I developed my Diva tendencies (hair, makeup, clothes, etc.). However I always ran. Because running made me feel free and it kept me fit. Nevertheless, I never had the confidence to enter a race...until my husband encouraged me to and entered a 5K with me. It was fun but I can't say I was hooked on competing. But something changed with the turning of the century. I took on coaching my youngest daughters Soccer team, something I was totally clueless about, so we learned together. If I do say so myself I became pretty good at motivating 6-8 year olds to be active and work hard to achieve a goal. I surprised myself and my family. Coaching taught me to be organized and efficient, words few would have used to describe me! Coaching also awakened a quiet confidence I had never felt before. Confidence to step out of my comfort zone, to deal with irrate parents, lazy children and a hectic schedule. So in January of 2004 when I announced my plan to train for and complete my first marathon my husband thought I was slightly crazy but he never blinked! He jumped on the band wagon and made it possible for me accomplish this huge goal.
I think I was feeling old and fat. My oldest daughter was about to graduate from high school and embark on her college career and I was turning 40 all in the same year. I called the marathon my mid-life crisis...better than finding a younger man! So my mid-life crisis became my banner for fitness and inspiration of others. Since I didn't have any running friends I trained alone. Waking up every day for 11 months at 5am to train and running long on the weekends. Since I didn't know anyone else who had done this and I had never done it I found a book by Hal Higdon and did what he said to do. I was too dumb to realize what a gargantuan task I had set myself so I "just did it"! November rolled around and the family and I traveled to San Antonio and I completed my first marathon. It was such an emotional accomplishment that to this day I can't truly express it. But just thinking about it still brings tears to my eyes...tears of pride, accomplishment, relief and joy.
Little did I know that this would open the flood gate of running for the next six years. After that first marathon I just ran for fun and fitness. Never very steady or focused. Then in the winter of 2006 a friend caught the bug and talked me into training with her to run another marathon. My husband joined us and the rest is history. The three of us completed the San Antonion Marathon in 2007 and 2008. I took off from marathon training in 2009 but my husband carried on and involved yet another friend and she completed her first every marathon this year. After helping these others train I realized what a fete I accomplished in 2004 by training alone. Training is much more fun and totally easier if you have friends and partners to motivate you and keep you on track. We now have a running club that was started in January of 2009. There are 45 members in our area that get together to run. Not all 45 of us run at the same time but on any given day several of us run together. We also plan and attend races in the area. Several of us are training for two half marathons and a 3.5 mile obstacle laden race for the first half of 2010. No one will commit to another marathon yet...maybe someday I will run another one...who knows maybe when I turn 50!
Until then...I'll see you on the run!