People say I'm crazy.
I won't deny I have my moments of crazy. I embrace it now. I can't fight crazy any more than I can fight being short, or my fear of frogs.
What seems crazy to others, and what is crazy to me, are sometimes two different things.
Crazy to me was the thought of ever being a "runner." I've done my fair share of treadmills, and aerobics, and hundreds of different videos, ab crunchers and whatever was the new "it" gadget...but I never could get my arms (or legs) around RUNNING.
Here's another thing about me. I am naturally lazy.
Not so much in my life, as a mom, a wife, an advertising exec, grocery getter, tear wiper, dinner maker, bill payer, candy-land-ref, and all that...
But with excercise.
i no likey.
I know its a must. I have read every magazine, watched every TV show...I KNOW I have to exercise if I want to be fit and healthy.
So last year I started walking...every day, a little further, a little faster. I grew to look forward and actually liked my walks. I took Casey, my beloved Golden Retriever. And seeing the absolute joy he got from the walks made it all the better.
I even got some of those massive make-your-but-look-cute-if you-walk-in-these Sketchers. I have never had a pair of shoes that came with a DVD that shows you how to walk in them, but sure enough, in a few days I was walking on air and feeling better and better.
Miles and Miles later, at the end of the summer, I heard about a family in my town that have two young children, Brooke and Josh, who have been diagnosed with A-T. Brooke is in my daughters class, Josh is in third grade. There would be a 5K in October to raise money for research for this terrible disease that currently has no cure..What could I do to help?
I could run, that's what.
So I started running.
I hated it.
It hurt my legs. It hurt my hips. It hurt my back. It hurt my arms. It hurt my ta-tas. I think it hurt my ears. It hurt everywhere...at first.
But I did it. I set the goal that I would run that race without stopping. 3 Miles. I knew it would not kill me.
At times I felt like it would. I started 1/4 mile by 1/4 mile. Soon I was running that 3 miles...and I had my trusty little pedometer thinger to prove it. My heart pounded. I believe that I perspired more than I ever have.
But doggone it. I was running.
And so October arrived. I was ready to race.
The night before, I was nervous. I wasn't sure why, I knew I could do it. I wasn't out to win...I just wanted to finish. I didn't know the route of the race, but I was pretty sure it wouldn't be too hard...right?
That night, my belly was doing that thing...you know what I'm talking about...that "ohnopleaseletmemakeit" feeling that you get if you have...well...intestinal distress...the runs.
The morning of the race...I felt better. I was excited. Ready to go...
I popped some Imodium and hit the road.
I picked up my friends and drove down to the church parking lot...It was "brisk" to say the least, but the energy of the runners and huge turnout to support the family was utterly amazing. Music was blaring, people were laughing and warming up...I got my "number."
It was 40.
I told my friend not to worry about running with me. I knew she was a "real" runner, and her pace was sure to be faster, and I didn't want to worry about keeping up. I just wanted to run the whole race with no stopping.
Just about as quickly as we started, I lost her in the pack.
About a 1/2 mile into it, I found my pace, which was clearly slower than most. But I didn't care. I was doing this for so many other reasons. I was doing it for myself. I was doing it for Brooke and Josh. I had set a goal, and here I was...running.
I kept up for a while, but at the first turn, was the first "hill." Remember, I live in the "Western Mountains." Its pretty much ALL hills. I watched as the "real runners" went up and over, and lost them.
Thankfully, there were wonderful volunteers along the route to direct us...cheering us on...lights and sirens from the local Police who had all volunteered their time to direct the race...it was awesome.
But the effing hills.
I was huffing and puffing and sweating.
This was not the fun part.
Then, at about halfway...at the top of yet another hill, there was a mini water station...where Brooke and Josh were there handing out cups, and saying "thank you" to each runner...with tears in my eyes I picked up my pace. Would these kids ever run? They will if I can help it.
Down a hill and around a corner, there was a man walking, cheering and supporting the racers.
"It's All Down Hill From Hee-Yah!"
"It is??" I panted. "Thank GOD!!!" I almost turned around and kissed him.
Down hill I could do.
The police officer directed me up another hill...
"Really?" I squeaked..."But a guy just said it was..."
Son of a...!
At the top of that hill, I realized I was alone.
Alone with my burning quads, my sore toe...my very un-lady-like sweat...and lost?
I had lost sight of my friend's swinging pony-tail, in a not-so-nice part of town...
I knew I had to be close to the end...but I was not sure. I think I was hallucinating. I was singing to myself.
On a road I knew would somehow get me to the end...
Where the $%#@ was I?
Where the $#%^ was everyone?
Only I could get lost in my own hometown and lose sight of 30 people running in a pack in bright, matching tee shirts...
Then I saw this person...not sure if it was a man or a woman...handing out little cups at a table on the side of the road...
"Yessssss." I was on the right trail!
I took a cup and drank it...feeling very marathony and athletic...
"Holy #$%^!" I thought out loud..."I hope that wasn't some sort of drug or something!"
This person could have been some LOONY passing out meth-juice or crack!
Was I going to die?
I kept running.
Then I saw another police car...blue lights twirling...at least I think they were....maybe I was swirling...
The sun was bright...The officers directing me...
"You're almost there!!!"
"I am? I am!"
Its a good thing. I had to pee.
Now I could see runners in front of me. Now I could hear a few behind me.
I caught a glimpse of the crowd at the end.
I could hear them cheering for runners as they finished.
I was going to be one of them.
Then I saw my three beautiful children cheering for me...beaming with pride..."Go MAMA!"
My parents were there cheering for me as I neared the finish...
My friends that had finished were cheering...
I ran in holding the hands of my two little rascals...Someone snapped a picture...Someone yelled out my time of finish...people were patting me on the back...
I did it.
And I didn't poop my pants, or overdose on that cup of drugs...
I did it.
I became a runner.
I did it for those kids. I did it for my kids. I did it for crazy me.
"Beautiful are the feet that carry good news." The priest quoted before the race started.
That carried me through. And every day since that race. I have run.
I will continue to run, and have set new goals. Crazy goals? Maybe. But the thought of running at all used to be crazy...to me.
It still hurts.
I still don't love it. But I can do it and support causes that are near and dear to me. And that is the reason I run.
Hope with Every Step raised over $55,000 for research in A-T.
I am honored that I could help.
And really, really proud of myself.
Thanks For Reading.