Maybe 10 years ago, my sister trained for and ran the Riverbank Run. It is a 25K. To be honest, at that time in my life, I had no idea how far 25 kilometers was, I just thought she was a little nuts but I admired her grit. I did not understand why anyone would want to do that to themselves.
A year or two later, my co-worker ran her first marathon. I went downtown to see her finish, but I guess she finished quicker than I was able to stub out my cigarette and go inside Ford Field to see her cross finish line. I missed her finish (and qualify for the Boston Marathon), but I can distinctly remember feeling like running a marathon seemed so impossible, so out of reach. I was inspired deep down inside, but it took more than a few years before I would start to run myself.
This weekend, I have the privilege of running the Riverbank Run with two of my running idols, one of my sisters and one of my friends. I now know that 25K is 15.5 miles and I am pretty sure that I will feel every one of them on Saturday, but I am giddy with excitement.
Race day never feels like that much work to me, partly because I do not run that fast, but also because the energy at a big race is contagious. The real work is done when no one is watching, on dark, empty streets on early mornings, or drizzly Sunday mornings when the rest of my family is enjoying a pancake breakfast, or 7 miles into a “long” run when I pass by my house, and instead of going inside, I chuck my empty water bottle and grab the full one I had left on the front lawn and keep going. I have ran over 200 miles in the last 3 months in order to train for 15.5 and they will (hopefully) be the easiest miles I have run. Race day is like a celebration to me, a reward for months of discipline, plus the best races serve you beer at the end. I am so excited to share it with my sister and my friend.
And even though I know, for certain, that I can and will run a marathon some day, I will never forget the first time I ran not quite a mile. After this weekend’s race, I am on to my next goal: getting Brady to run a 5k, and then my dad and Mark are next. Everybody is getting running shoes for Father’s Day, you have been warned.