the first 20

The first 20.

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It just occurred to me that a very daunting and powerful anniversary is coming my way.  It is almost my 20th anniversary with my love affair for running.  Twenty.  This is sort of overwhelming not only because I cannot believe I am old enough to have done anything for 20 years, but because I am not faster after TWENTY years of running.  Granted there were some…. slower months scattered in there (say the last months of pregnancy) but all in all I have been able to call myself a runner for almost 2/3 of my life.  (Almost.. almost… i still have a few months left of my twenties people, I am not submitting to the dirty thirty till its due time).  I can tell you this accomplishment actually does mean something to me though.  It makes me remember I am strong.  Especially on those days when I feel blue in the face from the exhaustion of raising toddlers.

After all these years I think I am finally comfortable in my running shoes.  I have run long enough to not feel the need to wear the latest or the greatest gear, and I have run long enough to know (at my speed at least) it isn’t really necessary anyway.  I have run long enough to know the days you feel like going the least are the days you will have the best results.  I know the hardest part about running is putting your running clothes on.  I know non-runners think us runners are crazy, and I like that.  I like being crazy.  It feels good.

In my first years running, middle school oh middle school, my main concern was winning.  And it was probably the only time I did this too.  Even as the high school years hit my ambition to be the first to cross the finish line dwindled substantially.  Of course, as a runner it always lingers, but now it’s stored more as a wishful hope like winning the lottery or finding a four leaf clover.  Something that just happens.  As my teenage years progressed and into my twenties I am sure, truth be told, I liked running because it gave me those killer calves and a flat stomach.  And yes, this is a mice side effect of running, but more importantly my mental health was kept in check in my mid twenties and now my late (very late!) twenties as a result of stepping outdoors with my sneakers laced up.

I have run in mountains, high up in the peaks.  I have run in the desert, in hundred degree plus weather.  I have run in the snow, on ice, in hail, in rain.  I have run through giant puddles.  I have run directly into the ocean, and even right off the end of a pier.  I have run barefoot, I have run in brand new “fancy” running shoes.  I have run in costume.  I have run in honor of someone.  I have run talking.  I have run in silence.  I have run crying and I have run laughing.  I have run with toilet paper stuffed in my pocket, I have run wishing I had toilet paper stuffed in my pocket.  I have run through injury.  I have run at 35 weeks pregnant my big belly swaying to the rhythm of Franti while I went down the middle of the street.  I have run pushing strollers, strollers filled with 60+ pounds of chatting boys.  I have run with dates in my pockets and gummy bears in my sleeves.  I have run alongside my biggest hero while she finished a long sought after marathon.  I have run with friends I miss, and friends I love, and family that loves me, and I believe I have shared the joy of running with all of them.

This all came to my attention on a run two Sundays ago up a giant hill behind my house.  My mother gave me a new running shirt, one which thoroughly confused me.  Most fashion does it turns out.  (Especially eyebrows?  Really there are ins and outs?  I only know because I was informed big slug brows are in!  Sweet!  I am finally cool!)  Anyways, this shirt has a little draw string along the bottom that you can cinch high or low.  I pondered why this little rope was there, but didn’t argue.  I slipped it over my head cinched it to the middle and headed out.  I soon found out it was in fact the ideal shirt for me.  While I am sure this little tank draw string is just a decoration, its purpose became clear to me within the first few minutes of my run.   As I stooped to pluck a wildflower that looked unfamiliar to me and place it in my waistband as I usually do, I paused.  So far a sweaty palm or the waistband of my shorts has proved to be an inconvenience and detrimental to the delicate petals of the flowers I would be bringing home.  But this shirt, this shirt has exactly what I needed.  A little pouch created by the drawstring.  Perfection.  I carefully tucked it into the given pouch of my shirt and kept on going.  I ended my run with a belly full of wildflowers, none of which I could figure out their identity, but that is besides the point.

I would say only a seasoned runner such as myself would feel confident in such a feat.

So, now I stand here with a crick in my back so strong that happens so often, and I wonder if my anniversary isn’t a sign to start anew.  It pains me to even think about it, but twenty years is nothing to scoff at really.

3 thoughts on “the first 20

  1. Pingback: one foot in front of the other | MamaRise

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