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13 February 2010

On the Eve of becoming a Marathoner...

(Reposted from Facebook)

So, I've been composing this little entry in my head for a while; ever since I began my taper for the marathon which, as I write this, is just over 18 hours away. (Oh. My. Word.)

My running career began when I was 12 and thought that running track would be a fun way to hang out with my friends. (I was right about that.) Even then, there was no one who didn't know that I was easily the slowest person on the team. To put it another way, the fast people would be finishing the 800 just as I was entering the first curve of my second lap. And yet... and yet, those same people were still standing near to cheer in the slow people as we finished. Some of my coaches had a hard time believing that anyone could run that slowly, but again, I rarely heard anything but encouragement.

(In gym class, my classmates took pains to tell me that I run like a duck. And quack behind me in the halls for my entire freshman year.
Thanks, guys.)

I didn't run competitively in high school (and I rarely ran recreationally), but I picked it up again as an aim student (and Keely confirmed that I do, in fact, run like a duck, although she refrained from quacking), then had an on-again, off-again relationship with running until three years ago. (Three years! Wow!)

I took it up again, found that I liked it, and then (and here is the secret to my sticking with it) we joined the West Texas Running Club. The club puts on monthly, totally-non-threatening, gives-you-something-to-train-for races. I love it.

Anyway. That was all background to the sappy part. I never would have stuck with this, I never would have striven for improvement, I certainly never would have thought about running a marathon without all the support and encouragement I've received from all sides. Running really is a non-team team sport, and I have a GINORMOUS number of teammates.

Chad got me into this mess in the first place. :) There are many people in the running club who are so encouraging, even (especially!) when they finish 30 minutes ahead of me. We've been blessed beyond measure by Shannon & Wendy's friendship; it calmed my nerves considerably to see a familiar face at our first race. (And Shannon graciously refrained from saying "I told you so" after I went out MUCH too fast only 10 minutes after he warned me not to.)

There are other runners at South Plains and at work who have helped with advice and encouragement. But I readily admit to being even more uplifted by non-runners, mostly on Facebook, who make me feel like an Olympic athlete when alll I've done is a slow 3-miler. Especially so are the people who have said I'm an inspiration-- me, an inspiration? I've never heard that in my life about anything. And suddenly this uber-slow, runs-like-a-duck (Chad thinks so, too) overweight girl has become a mostly-slow, still-runs-like-a-duck, normal-weight running girl, who gets by with a little help from her friends.

I couldn't have done it without your help. And so, on the eve of becoming a Marathoner, I say thank you. Rest assured that during the long miles tomorrow, I will be thinking of you. And thanking God for you.

3 comments:

sparquay said...

Hurray! Congrats. Well, looking forward to the next post covering your adventures as a marathon runner! What will your next goal be?

I never thought about what animal your run resembled, but a duck is a suitable comparison. It might be due to the tucked it wings... uh, I mean, "arms".

Me personally, even though I ran track in middle school, really did not enjoy running.

Timbra Wiist said...

what a fun story. . .i guess i never realized how much your "sport" means to you, though you write about it often. . .and congrats on the HUGE accomplishment of the marathon. oh no, i'm turning 29 in two months, perhaps i should consider a 30th birthday marathon goal though i've NEVER enjoyed running, not one little bit!!!! can i SWIM a marathon instead? Congrats again! AMAZING!

Su said...

Hey, if you want to run a 30th birthday race (it doesn't have to be a marathon!), I'll come run it with you. :)

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