Why I Run: Terzah Becker Dimity and I met Terzah (pron. “Terj-uh”) Becker at the ZOOMA half marathon in Colorado Springs last month. We’d “met” her online many times before on our Facebook page, so it was like meeting an old friend…for the first time. She and I particularly bonded because we both have boy-girl twins. If you want to get to know Terzah better, check out her blog or on Twitter.
Oh, and Terzah’s subhead for this post is: Confessions of a Cross-Country Drop-Out
I remember the time trial well. I was 14 years old. My acne would soon clear up. My pudginess would melt away thanks to a four-inch growth spurt. My Orphan-Annie perm would grow out. I had it in me to run three miles fast. But I didn’t know any of that. All I knew was I felt trapped. I wasn’t as fast as the other girls. I was nowhere near as physically confident as they all seemed to be. The hot, humid September day of that time trial, I wanted to go back to my books, to my room hung with posters of unicorns, to my air-conditioned Smart-Not-Athletic-Girl hidey-hole. But here I was. The coach said, “Go.” Everyone took off at a pace that left me far behind. A clod of earth was the perfect tool. I tripped over it with great drama, feigned a knee injury, and for the rest of the season acted as the team’s lackluster “manager.” I did not go out for cross country again.
These days, 24 years older almost to the day of that time trial, I have 4.5-year-old twins, a boy and a girl. They exude a strident, but unpretentious, confidence I would make last forever if I had real Mommy superpowers. I never want either of them to feel as I did that day.
I entered my first race, a 10K, at age 22. For a long time, running was about my own transformation from quitter to striver. I’ve never needed to lose lots of weight. I’ve never had illusions of being able to cruise with the cheetahs.
I’ve thankfully had no disease to overcome. But as a Recovering Quitter, I’ve needed to prove to myself I can run, and run well beyond what I once thought my limits were.
I know I can’t save my kids from adolescence or from failing. Every teenager feels ugly and inadequate. And every human being fails at something sometime. The key is to get back up, as soon as you can, and redeem yourself. Every day I run I do that time trial over again.
Someday I will tell my kids this story.
It has this ending: Every run is redemption.