The winner the the ALTRA running shoes is……..
Congrats!! Email me and we will get you your awesome shoes!
Ever since I was little, I was always enthralled by sports. I watched Braves games with my dad, sumo wrestling with my Grandma (it’s not totally random: I’m a quarter Japanese), and as many Olympic events as I could take in. I always wanted to play sports myself, but my coordination has always been on about the same level as a blind-folded drunker giraffe on one leg.
I spent my childhood trying and quitting various sports: Basketball, cheerleading, ice skating, etc. I finally gave up and took up theatre in high school, which I loved, but I still wished I could be one of those super cool athletic chicks.
Fast forward a few years, to the spring of 2010… My husband (Aaron) and I have just gotten married a couple months earlier on New Year’s Eve, and he is currently at Fort Huachuca in Arizona for morse code school (yes, they still use morse code in the military). I’ve decided to keep myself busy by working out, so I’ve tried running (but no more than 2 miles at a time). I decide to time my 2 mile run, and I fight to finish in less than 25 minutes.
Fast forward a bit more to January 2011… Aaron and I are now in Korea (where we still are now) and have been since June 2010. Shortly before we got to Korea, I had stopped running. But then I found myself in a foreign country (after having only lived in a small town in Georgia for my entire life), dealing with the unexpected stresses of military life, with no way to relax or clear my head.
I started reading Runner’s World magazine and kept seeing all these things about how people use running to relax and as a form of therapy. I knew that I wasn’t naturally good at running and that I had gotten frustrated with it in the past, but I decided to try just once more. I talked to my dad (who has been running for a few years) and we decided to run a half marathon together in June when Aaron and I went to the states on leave. So, I found myself a training plan and on January 17th, 2011, I became a runner.
The next few months consisted of injuries (IT band at my hip and shin splints), frustration, and serious considerations of just quitting all together. But, I kept pushing and maintained my focus on the race my dad and I had registered for: The Pacific Crest Half Marathon in Sunriver, OR.
After all the doubts, questioning, and frustration I had felt during my training, it all paid off when I ran my first ever race. My dad and I ran together up until the very last mile, and the whole day was such an amazing experience (except for maybe when I almost got taken out by a stray golf ball that narrowly missed my head around mile 11). I sprinted across the finish line at 2:19:35 and felt amazing. Right after my dad and I caught up with our many spectators (of course Aaron and my mom were there, but so were my mother in law, brother in law, and one of my husband’s best friends), my mom disappeared into the expo tents and came back with an awesome 13.1 shirt for me.
I knew right then and there that I would never stop running again. That runner’s high that you always hear about is real. The excitement of race day really does stay with you. And the lessons running can teach you, not just about fitness, but about life, are far too valuable to pass up.
I’ve learned that I don’t have to be perfect at something to enjoy it.
I’ve realized that being athletic isn’t about being genetically gifted, but about dedicating yourself to a sport that you are passionate about.
I’ve learned that I am not defined by a number on a scale or a tape measure, and that my body’s abilities are far more important and impressive than the size of my clothes.
I’ve learned to live with (and now love) my smaller boobs (and am pretty sure I’m just one marathon training plan away from applying to that committee… yeah, you know the one).
I’ve learned that burgers are the perfect recovery food and chocolate milk isn’t just for little kids.
I’ve learned that I can do this, simply because I say I can.
I’ve learned how, not just to admit my shortcomings, but to find ways to better myself… And I don’t just mean doing speed work to improve my pace. I mean realizing all the ways in which I can better myself as a wife, daughter, and woman.
I’m grateful for running and what it has given me. I’ve managed, not just to save my sanity while being an Army wife (and living overseas), but to learn the importance of the time we spend here. I’m not going to lie, Aaron and I would still jump at any opportunity to go back to the states early, but the fact remains that we are here until June 2012, whether we are happy about it or not, so shouldn’t we at least try to embrace it, rather than suffer through these last months? Though I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t dying to be able to be stateside again where I could be running races as often as my body would let me!
Through all of this, I believe my running journey has been enriched by the blogging community (which I joined when I started running). I get such amazing advice and encouragement, that I sometimes wonder how different my view of running would be if it weren’t for all of the amazing people I’ve met through blogging. True, I haven’t met of them in person (yet!), but I still feel that we share this bond through running, because it does take a certain type of person (*cough*crazy*cough*) to want to go out there and run for miles on end for fun. I am extremely grateful for my blogging friends and I hope to meet each and every one of them some day.
I plan to keep running (and blogging!) while we’re here in Korea, when we get to our next duty station, when Aaron gets out of the Army and we finally become a civilian family, after we have a baby (jogging stroller and all), and for as long after that as I can.
Now go check out Lauren’s AMAZING blog and have an amazing day!
Have you ever lived in another country?
-I haven’t but Billy lived in Ukraine for a little while!
Did you ever experience any of those same injuries (IT band, shin splints ets) that Lauren did when you first started running?
-Shin splints for shizzle. I thought my legs were going to explode.
Do you usually buy things at race expos?
-I never have but I am thinking that I will in NY……Billy might have to give me a budget otherwise things are going to get crazy.