Four years ago, I became a runner. Well, not really, but I ran my first "race". I was previously an adamant believer that one should only run if being chased, like by a bear. A coworker who'd recently given birth asked me to run with her in a 5K, the Heart Run. She said it was cool if I ended up walking; I'm a sucker, I was trying to be make nice with fairly new coworkers and said yes. Thanks to my love of talking when in not normally talking situations, I "ran" the entire thing. I say "ran" because it's not REALLY running, but more like gentle self-propulsion. A month later, I ran most of 5 miles in the Alaska Run for Women in one hour flat.
The Moose came the following year at the end of March, so I didn't run in the May Heart Run, but I sure did run the June Run for Women. And I beat my time! I finished in 55 minutes! w00t!!! Now, somehow, this race had become important to me. I try not to be competitive, but running allows competition without all the hurt feelings. It's a solo sport that is made even better by solo-ing with 7,000 other women in this event. There is something incredibly liberating about running through the middle of the streets in downtown Anchorage with this insane posse of women.
I walked/self-propelled the Heart Run with the Moose in a stroller the next year; she had just turned one. We had a really good time! I was super nervous at first, never having done anything like this, but she giggled through most of it & seemed thrilled by the speed. She even got a medal for crossing the finish line :) We walked the Run for Women with a friend and her then 2-year old daughter. That event that led to my decision to not take the Moose with me the next year. We were late, which would have been fine, but do you know what 2-year olds like to do? Be in the stroller, get out of the stroller, be in the stroller, get out of the stroller, push the stroller, be in the stroller LOL Do not ask how long it took us to walk that 5 miles - I do not know, but it was a long time. I learned from this experience the importance of going for leisurely strolls on a path where it is safe and appropriate for little people to be running around like little people. This was an important moment in life :)
This year, I did not do the Heart Run. But, I did encourage a new coworker buddy to do the Run for Women with me. Now, mind you, I am not super fond of running. All my previous "training" had been mentally psyching myself to do it by telling everyone I was going to do it in hopes it would prevent me from chickening out at the last minute. I didn't even really understand that people actually run in preparation of further running. So when this girl says to me "oh we should start running at lunch to train," I was a wee confused hahaha We started running 1-2 miles a couple days a week like 2 weeks before the race. It was actually kind of fun, I had someone to talk to the whole time! Then it was race day and it was on. She's the type that listens to music on long runs; I can't, I need the sounds of everything around me to keep me focused & present. We split up pretty quick. Yay! I crossed in 51 minutes!!! w00t!w00t!
And then nothing for a little over a month. We walked during lunch, but the running had run it's course. One day, about 5 weeks later, I started running. By myself. If you don't know me, this is very much not something that normally happens... I am super shy and rarely go to the grocery store by myself. For the last 3 weeks, I've been running by myself for 2 miles (20 minutes) during lunch like 3-4 days a week. WTF. I'm also finding that being active makes injury prone lovelies such as myself even more prone to injury (increased exertion, yada yada). But I am LOVING it.
After talking about this with mema, she says "duh." She used to be big into running; she says it's the Korean in me (her explanation for all the things she likes about me). When she was in her prime, she ran competitively. There's even an urban legend that she was in a large sporting event (her description is the Korean Olympics - I have not looked into what that might be) as part of a relay team. Unfortunately, the last person on their team dropped the baton and they didn't go onto lives of running fame & fortune. When we're talking about this, she gets a look on her face I rarely get to see... I almost hesitate to call it (joy). It's kind of awesome.
Isn't life amazing, the way something so.. seemingly trivial can connect people? Even people who have spent 30+ years trying to find things to connect them.