Why I Run: Terzah Becker


Terzah running this year's ZOOMA half marathon in Colorado

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.

Running strong in the 2011 Bolder Boulder.

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.

28 responses to “Why I Run: Terzah Becker

  1. I loved this post! Recovering Quitter is a title that I can truly relate to. That’s one of the reasons that I run, too. I need to prove to myself that I can do more than I believe. I too, was a track and field disaster–much more of a bookworm than athlete…but happily we have the chance to make ourselves into something different, and more authentic, as adults. Thanks for the dose of inspiration!

  2. I understand so much of this perspective.

    I ran one season of spring track freshman year. Being tall they wanted me to try every “jump” possible. I hated the early saturday morning meets and never saw myself as good an athlete as my superstar soccer playing brothers. I was happy when I got a job at a donut shop that spring and gave myself an “out” from track.

    Everyday that I run I think about how I should have been doing it all along! I should not be approaching 40 preparing for my first marathon. I wish I had got up and found my inner athlete earlier!

    I am glad you have found such great redemption!

    I look forward to following more of your story!

  3. awesome. I “ran” track in 9th and 10th grade. I use the term run loosely. I totally sucked, had shin splints and was there to lay in the sun in the middle of the football field at track meets. I quit and it took me 20 years to start again. I will never stop. And I actually thumb my nose at my 15/16 year old self for being such a slacker.

  4. I am a fan and follower of Terzah. I love this post. We all have a moment like that I think. Those years are not easy. I wish I could tell my 14 yrs old self…you are capable of more than you think and it is OK to be the tallest in the class, one day you will not stand out as much!

    As far as the running goes…well I am still a newbie…just 18 mos into this journey, 18 mos ago I had to stop and walk during 5k races, I never thought of really quitting but I also never thought I would run a 10k or a half marathon! I did both more than once…(a big part thanks to the gals over at RLAM Facebook page.) I wish that 14 yrs old gal knew she would do this one day, I would have started this running thing sooner!!!

    1. Thirteen and fourteen are definitely hard years to be a girl. I wish I had known then what I know now.

      And Caroline you are such an awesome runner–I can’t believe you just started. GOOD LUCK in your race.

  5. Wow, Terzah!!! All of these stories amaze me because I find a thread of myself in them, but not like this one. I went out for cross country once. Also as a 14 year old, chunky, smart-girl freshman. My side stich at about 1/4 a mile did me in. I quit and never looked back. No one bothered to ask me to try again or told me it would get better. I never ran again until my oldest child started high school cross country. I was 32! But everytime I cross a finish line now, I think of that girl and I want to go back to the night I got stood up for the homecoming dance and tell her that she’s going to be just fine…and that maybe she should start running- it will make her feel better. Thanks for reminding me that I am not alone in that!

    1. You are definitely not alone, Jennifer. If only we could talk to ALL the girls like us who are out there right now doubting themselves and hiding away….

  6. Go YOU! I never, ever completed the 1 mile in under 20 minutes – because no one ever told me that I could. I had to tell MYSELF that I could – and I have that same conversation every time I run a mile. It’s like my feet are giving my high school gym teacher the finger after every mile – that’s inspiration for sure!

    1. I LOVE this: giving your gym teacher the finger after every mile…..That’s how I think of that cross-country coach, honestly. It wasn’t his fault I was a big wimp, but he made ZERO effort to help me improve. I’m talking ZERO. I know there are a lot of awesome, inspiring gym teachers and coaches out there, but I sure met none of them when I was in jr. high and high school. So happy for you and your many many miles!!

  7. After this, I hopped over to your blog to find the details from the Get Your A$$ over the Pass relay. I was envious of you relayers running the night of the meteor shower. It sounds like fun. Happy miles!

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