Only a few short years ago I did not run.  I thought it was the worst form of torture imaginable, but one day I woke up and decided that I wanted to run a marathon.

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I saw people on TV shows who went from over weight and not even being able to run a block, to running marathons.  They conditioned themselves with proper food choices and exercise.  I wanted to make some of these same life changes and I thought that running would be a good place to start.

Now I know that one doesn’t just run a marathon the day after deciding that running is their new sport of choice.  In fact some days it still feels like my body is screaming at me to stop, but I keep putting one foot in front of the other because I really did fall in love with this sport and every day I get stronger.

 

I know I am crazy because not only did I pay to enter into this yearly event out on Sauvie Island on the 4th of July, but I also set my alarm to wake up at 3:30 am to start making my way to the starting line and packet pick up.  Packet pick up was running only from 5:30-6 am so they could have all the participants ready for the race start.

The excitement and buzz in the air as the participants await the starting gun, pinning my bib number on my shirt, using the port-a-potty one last time and meeting others who were just as excited for the day to begin as I was.

Start of the Race

The race started at 6:30 am for the marathoners, 6:40 for those running the 5k and at 6:50 for the half marathon (my selected race for the day).  It is always crowded at the beginning, weaving around those who are running at a slower pace or who are walking.  The familiar burn in the legs and lungs as they warm up.  After the first couple of miles my mind and legs are working as one and my mind can start to wander.  I always think about my training and how I got to this race on this specific day.  I think about the others who are running around me, what are their stories, what life path has led them to be here with me?

Running is a special kind of sport.  It can be a lonely sport where you wake in the morning to do your training runs solo, but the camaraderie in a race keeps spirits high when you are struggling with the heat of the day, an upset stomach, blisters on your feet or any number of other  unexpected obstacles that day.

About mile 8 I heard,

“On your left.  On your left!”

Then I saw the first and second place Marathoners fly past me (they were on the home stretch at mile 21) still running strong.  For a second I was able to cheer them on before buckling down to finish my final 5 miles.  One speed walker that I passed and passed me several times rooted for me in the last couple of miles and kept me going through the heat.

“C’mon Maui! Only 2 miles left!”

(I was wearing my race shirt from the Half I did on Maui the year prior)

 

In the end it isn’t about winning, it isn’t even about making a personal best each time.  No, in the end it is about getting out there to do something I have fallen in love with, meeting others who have the same passion and having fun.  Yes running hurts sometimes, but getting to know the power of your mind and body is worth more that all the bibs, medals and race shirts I collect.

“Running starts long before the race is set up.  It starts with a commitment. ” – Kari Rouse

The commitment to yourself to get up and get out the door with your shoes on.  Find that one thing you can fall in love with, make that commitment to yourself and keep getting out there.  Start Now!

#Running starts long before the race is set up. It starts with a commitment. – Kari Rouse Click To Tweet

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