I started running a year ago August because I was jealous. I was jealous of my husband and our three teenage sons after they returned from their runs with mud on their legs and smiles on their faces. They are trail runners and I wanted to be one, too. They were just having too much fun and I wanted to be a part of it.
I am 48 years old and 40 pounds overweight. I have always enjoyed exercise and maintained a decent level of fitness. I have painful knees so I had ruled out running long ago, at least street running. I watched with envy as my husband, our 17-year-old twins and our 16-year-old stepped out so effortlessly and ran the trails. I realized that if I ran in the trails, the varied surface might not produce the same type of pounding effect on my knees. By building the muscles around my knee, maybe I could run.
On July 31, 2011, my husband and sons went out for Sunday breakfast. I didn’t tell them what I had decided at 2 a.m. the night before. I stepped through the gate in our backyard into the woods and ran. And walked. And ran some more. It was so much fun. It was slow, it wasn’t pretty, but I came home muddy and happy.
I have been running trails ever since. I have slowly improved. I have managed my knee pain. I have had great runs, tough runs, cold runs, and warm runs. I have dragged my Newfoundland dog out there with me, much to her chagrin. She’s adjusted and so have I. Now she perks up when she sees me getting my trail shoes and sits, waiting to go. I have also enlisted a dear friend to run with me and we have explored the many trails available to us in our area. We feel strong and powerful, and time with a best friend running is a dream.
Shortly after I started running, the whole family signed up for a four-mile trail race. I was quite nervous to take on that distance as I had only been running a couple of months. I accepted the fact that I would be the last person to finish the race. I was not. My 15-year-old son Henry ran it with me and crossed the finish line behind me so as to prevent that from happening. That is the kind of support I receive at home from my sons and especially my husband Tom, who beams with pride that I get out there. This is a man who ran a trail marathon last fall and is currently running a mountain series. He seems to take as much pride in my slow three mile runs as he does in his many running accomplishments. It is this support that keeps me going out there and keeps my slow progress in perspective.
I feel so lucky to be out there, running the trails.
Randi, "a stay-at-home mom for a long time," went back to school four years ago to get a masters in social work. She will graduate this May.