In college, I ran a mile here and a mile there to keep the freshman 15 off. It worked for the most part.
Leading up to my wedding, I ran a mile here and a mile there to fit into my dress. It definitely worked that time.
After getting married, I ran a mile here and a mile there in order to complete my first 5K. I remember how it hurt and thought it would never end.
When Kenny got deployed 5 short months after we got married, I ran a mile here and a mile there to keep away the loneliness and the demons of my depression. It didn’t really work but was better than nothing.
After he got home, I tried to run a mile here and a mile there to keep up the routine. Usually, I was less than successful. My depression got worse.
After we moving to Eugene, OR, I trained for and ran my first marathon in the spring of 2007. Finally, I ran more than a mile here and a mile there. I ran long miles and trained diligently. I stuck with a routine and persevered. This is when I became a runner, largely because I believed I was a runner. My depression became more manageable.
Over the next 11 years, running remained a part of my life to varying degrees. I ran several marathons. I took a couple breaks to have two beautiful babies. I ran a couple more marathons, then an ultra. My depression had many ups and many downs. I took a long break due to life burnout and depression became almost unbearable.
Running was a large part of my identity, even during the lower periods. It was always something I did even when I didn’t do it a lot. It was important to keep my depression controlled. After my long break, I tried desperately to regain my mojo but was completely unable. I ran a mile here and a mile there doing my best to hold on. I beat myself up for no longer being a runner more than I went out an ran.
So what did I do? I QUIT!
That’s right. I quit running. I gave up the identity that I was try to hold onto so tightly. I was losing it anyway so I figured, “What the hell? Why keep fighting a battle that I know I am going to lose?”
I stopped being a runner. After so long of running being a core part of my being, I set it free. January 2016, I stopped being a runner.
At the time, I was certain it would last forever. I would become a yogi, maybe swim or just walk the dog for exercise. I surrender to a new identify and allowed that whatever will be will be.
Four months later, the veil miraculously lifted and I slowly started running again. A mile here and a mile there. Nothing more, nothing less. Then Kenny ran his first 100 mile race in June 2016. It was such an inspiration to see him accomplish such a feat.
While I was crewing him, I read Gary Dudney’s The Tao of Running. This book is an amazing look at loving running for running itself. Not for what it does for the body, not for the race times you might clock, not for the miles you will log each week. I embraced that running is an expression of self. It is a meditation. It is a place to go to escape. It is a place to go to confront. It is more than just a sport, it is a way of life.
At this moment, I embraced running once again, though differently, and allowed it to no longer just define an activity I took part in, but rather it is now a driver in every decision that I make. It is the foundation of my soul.
Over the last year since I began running again, running has been my constant companion providing me friendship, support, self-love, devotion, peace, excitement, and so much more.
This is only the beginning of my running story. I look forward to the adventures and lessons running will bring in the many miles to come.