Monday, September 30, 2013

In Gratitude...

I have a love/hate relationship with running. It is a mental struggle, and it is also a physical one. I always seem to "really" want to run on the days that I can't. Then roll around the days that I am completely able to run, and half the time I am slowly procrastinating my way out the door. My laundry-list of past/present injuries and injury-related aches and pains also keeps me sort of "hating" it all. That being said, I just can't HELP myself, for the love of God. The hardest part really is getting out the door and putting in that first mile. Once that happens, it all just seems to fall into place. Even on a bad day, a run still feels good. Sometimes during the run. Always at the end of the run.

I don't run with a partner. Or a group. I run by myself ALL.THE.TIME. My schedule isn't conducive to much else. I run when Finnley is in school. And, I run on the weekends when Matt is home from his workout or run, and he can be with Finnley. I don't own a treadmill, so all of my running takes place outside. The local streets, parks, and paths are my gym. 95 degrees and humid? Well, I run. 25 degrees and snow? Well, I still run. I like that I get out there no matter what. It is part of the "glory" of my running. It just makes me feel good. And proud. And accomplished.

Even though I run alone, I have found that running is a group sport. You are never "alone". Even on the coldest days, I still cross paths with my brethren. In addition, the running community is HUGE, and it is EVERYWHERE. So, even though I walk out the door by myself, I find motivation and inspiration all around me. I see it on the streets. I read about it on blogs. I connect with like-minds on Twitter and Facebook. Runners.are.EVERYWHERE. It is comforting, and it is propelling.

The other thing about runners? Their passion continually parlays itself into other venues. We are the ones that make up a large part of charitable events. An extraordinary amount of running races are ones that are used to raise money and awareness for a cause. You name the race, and it has backing...and the runners are there supporting in one way or another. So, once again...despite the fact that I lace up and hit the pavement with just myself and my iPhone...I am a part of something much larger than myself. And, I love that. I get a kick out of it. I am so pleased to be entwined with this mass of people who push themselves in all sorts of enviable ways.

So, it is no doubt pleasing to me that I was able to be a part of Team Scoot A Doot this past month as they/we logged miles and raised money and awareness for the Million Mile Run and Alex's Lemonade Stand Foundation. I had never run more than "49.someoddmiles" in one month, so I set a personal goal for myself of 50 miles. I didn't set a monetary goal, but I knew that I would keep pushing to raise as many donations as I possibly could. Through the beginning of September, I had completed training for and running my first half marathon...something that I never expected of myself. (For the record, I had never run more than a 10K in my life!) So, after putting that notch in my running belt...I felt empowered. I just kept running. And pushing. I was out racking up miles just 2 days after the half. (Which I thought was crazy, but I wanted to keep my promise to get as many miles as I could for this worthy cause.) Every time I went out, I had a mileage in my head that I was going to complete. And, every time...I just seemed to run an extra mile. Or two. As of today, the end of the Million Mile Run, I have logged 76.9 miles. I can't hardly believe it. And, my pace has continued to improve throughout the month as well. I capped all of it off with my final run today being 5.22 miles at a 9:20 pace...a PR! And, there is no way that I could have done any of this if I really were "alone" in my running. My teammates, and the running community as a whole, really drive me to push myself.

As this particular event comes to an end, I am proud to say that our team SURPASSED both its mileage goal and its donation goal. It really is awesome to see what happens when great people get together to embrace a great cause.

I am leaving you all with a personal "thank you" directed toward all of those who supported me in one way or another during this past month. I am so blessed to know you all and to have your backing.

This particular event might be coming to a close, but I guarantee we will all still be out there putting in miles pretty much at any time and in any way that we can. That is just what "we" do. That is what it is to be a runner. And, I am happy to say that that is what I am.

In gratitude -