When I first got the notion to start running 11 years ago, immediately I started competing with myself. Let’s be honest, at that point, I was the only competition that I could keep up with. I wanted to overtake the previous distance. I didn’t know about the couch to 5K program if it even existed back then, but it is very nearly the way I began running. I ran from telephone pole to telephone pole. Soon, I conquered one mile straight out then walked back home a mile. I aspired to go farther and farther.
Fast forward a few years and two kids, I entered my first 5K race. Entering the race was only a symptom of my amply developed passion. At home, I was running four miles nearly every day, but not for training, just to run. I knew I could run a 5K without grief. I finished 3rd in my age group but my running remains more about me than it is about racing. These days, I run 1-3 races a year. I run about 600 miles a year. (Completing nor more than 20 miles total in shoes in the last 1.5 years)
That’s right, my running is more about me than racing. When I look deep inside and analyze why I run, I see a woman who revels in using her own power to go somewhere. I take pride in using my two feet (legs, lungs, etc) and nothing else to travel distances people consider “out of their way” in a car. I enjoy the sense of success as landmark after landmark approaches, is a breast, then is out of view. It seems easier to appreciate mother earth when I spend so much time massaging her derma.
Although, another day passed without a run (except the half hour playing tag with the Cub Scouts), I’m finding gratification in another activity, biking. My corner of the earth may be a menial place to ride. Our trails of any length are converted old railroad tracks. There aren’t any hills or mountains. The corn stalks outnumber the trees by 5 to 1. Still, I find supplanting the bike for the car as I make my way through town delivers satisfaction akin to running. I am the central source of power that moves this machine forward. I am the reason that I get from point A to point B. I reduce the damage caused from eating M&Ms. .. ahem, I mean, I reduce the damage I cause to the earth.
I may not have a lot of gadgets like a Garmin. I may have a broken down 21 speed bike. I may wear cotton biking shorts from Walmart for all my sweat inducing activities. I may go barefoot or in minimalist shoes. Most importantly, I am my own energy source.