|Bare faced and ready to run.|
OK fine, I do have a little mascara and lipgloss on.
I started running regularly during my sophomore year in college, when I came to the realization that the freshman 15 was not an urban legend but a reality that had occured in my life. At first all I could handle was 20 minutes. But I built my endurance up, and up some more, and eventually I was running everyday, in every kind of weather. I was known for my ugly green leggings and head wrap I would wear to brave the cold winter days in Columbus, Ohio. My husband, whom I had not yet formally met at the time, tells me he and his buddies would know exactly what time I'd pass by their fraternity house during my runs. The running helped me lose that freshman 15. More importantly, I loved how running helped me clear my mind and gave me time to work through whatever challenges I was facing. Important project stressing me out? Running always brought things back in perspective. Challenging final coming up? A run after studying would always lower my stress level.
My running continued after my college days ended. I ran through the pain of moving away from my family and friends, to new cities as I pursued my television career. I ran through the anxiety of watching my mom battle cancer, and I ran through the stress of working in a governor's office. I even ran through three pregnancies, albiet not as long or as hard as usual. Over the past 15 years or so, I trained many long hours for marathons and half marathons in several different cities. I cried at the finish line each time, overcome with the emotion that came with completing 13.1 or 26.2 miles on my own two legs.
At this point in my life, with the daily juggle of a different career and family, my running does not receive the attention it once did, but I try to go for long runs whenever possible. I do hit the gym daily, but to me, a gym workout just isn't the same as the exhiliration of running outside, where I can feel the wind in my face and smell the autumn leaves or spring blooms. I can't dedicate the time to running that I once did, but that's ok. My little boys need me more than my running shoes do. I know that someday, when my boys are grown and don't care so much about having their mom around all the time, I can be back on my marathon schedule.
I'm thankful that running has shaped my life in its own unique way. It has shown me what I am capable of, and it has given me a certain strength that I would have missed out on otherwise. Just think, had I not gained that freshman 15 all those years ago, I may have missed out on one of my favorite titles in my life: Runner.