I'll be honest: I don't know much about Christina, other than I love her blog name and Twitter handle, both variations on the badass theme Mom Runs Faster Than Dad. But I don't think I need to know more: love that attitude and sass. Looking forward to more of it--and her smile--in 2012.
I joined the gym in December of 2005. I was more than 30 pounds overweight, thanks to the typical post-pregnancy weight that a lot of us moms carry around after the birth of a third child. I started with using the elliptical, walking on the treadmill, and lifting weights. I really don’t remember the day I crossed the line into the world of crazy people that run by choice.
I do remember thinking what a great idea it would be to sign up for the 2007 Indianapolis 500 Festival Mini-Marathon as motivation to keep running. I’m not sure what side of my brain possessed me to do such a thing, but after my first race experience, I can only wonder what would drive me to continue with this insanity called running.
What could have been so horrible, you ask? Where do I start?
Let’s begin at mile one. That would be where my running partner decided to become one with the concrete. She tripped on the separated concrete in the road, broke some teeth and came out of the hospital later that afternoon looking like she got in the ring with Mike Tyson. I waited with her for medical personnel for about 45 minutes, which put me beyond the required race pace. I had to do what any experienced runner would tell you not to do: go out too fast. I didn’t have a choice. Otherwise, I risked the ride of shame in the pace van.
Also, because I had to go out too strong at mile one, to maintain my distance from the pace van, I was now paying for it at every mile thereafter. Around mile 7 was just one of the numerous moments I wished for instantaneous death and at mile 10, my wishes had progressed to spontaneous combustion.
Between mile 12 and 13, I got a call on my cell. Yes, I was carrying a cell. I was a newbie, leave me alone. It was my brother. My sister-in-law had given birth to my niece. I huffed and puffed that I was dying and would call him back in about one mile if I was still alive.
Upon completion, I was unable to even lift my foot for the volunteer to remove my timing chip off of my shoe. That was only one of the telltale signs of inadequate and improper training. I was so delirious, I couldn’t comprehend where my husband, who had driven me to the race, was or explain where I was so that we could find each other. He sent my daughter and a cousin out in a search party to find me while I just stood there in the middle of a sidewalk in downtown Indianapolis. Thankfully, they found me within 10 minutes and my husband had followed them, so the walk to the van was just off the sidewalk. For the next week, living in a two-story house was pure torture. I had to lift my legs one by one to get up the stairs.
Even after that self-inflicted torture, I’ve never thought twice about signing up for next race. People ask me all the time why I run—or actually, they ask, “Are you crazy?” No, I’m not. A few of the reasons I give, when I have the chance:
I run for my health. My physical health is just as important as my mental health, and running benefits both.
Honestly, as vain as it may sound, I also run for my appearance. I don’t share my seventeen-year-old daughter’s size 0 metabolism. I’ve found is the most effective exercise for weight control.
I run so when one of my children tell me that they have wrecked—okay, totaled— another car less than a year after one totaled the first car, my already low blood pressure can only go so much higher.
I run so that when I agree to 12 teenagers in my household overnight, I have the mental capacity to endure it.
I run because I enjoy the feeling of accomplishment at the finish line of a race regardless of my pace.
I run because I like collecting race T-shirts.
But the biggest reason I run is because it’s the one thing I truly do for myself. As insane as most people think I am for running, it’s what keeps me sane.