If you read the “About” section before you got here, you know what’s up. If not, let me quickly fill you in:
My love for running began in junior high school. The whole school had to run one mile every Friday. I know – crazy! <— that’s sarcasm, if you couldn’t tell. Anyways, I actually enjoyed it. Speed up to high school and my dear friend Sarah was on the X-Country team. I thought she was crazy (I was also a bit envious but I’ll never tell her that..until now.). I asked her a million and one questions because I was incredibly interested in joining the team.
“How do you get on the team? How fast do you have to run? What do you do? Where do you go? Who/what/when/where/why/how?”
Her main response (with a bit of hidden frustration towards the end) was
“Go here, Monday thru Friday, and you’re in.”
Easy peezy, it sounded. My parents thought I was crazy for wanting to run for fun but, for them, if it reduced my butt in size (I currently aspire to have a big, strong butt, by the way. Junk is nice.) and kept me busy during the summer then why the heck not? I remember how I came dressed the first day of training: old, white spandex shorts, oversized white cotton t-shirt, regular light pink bra, too-big-for-my-feet white socks, and shoes (what kind of shoes? Don’t ask.). Talk about ridiculous! I never felt more like an outsider than at that moment. However, I immediately started giggling to myself because I knew that at the end of the run, we’d all look the same: like sh*t. But we’d all feel grrreat!
(yes, those are the spandex shorts and those are Nautica “running” shoes. what?! my sentiments exactly.)
Fast forward to my first race and I wanted to hurl my lungs out. I was so concerned with finishing last and I didn’t want to be made fun of if I was. I mean, I was already known as the shortest and slowest (? I’ll have to confirm this.) girl on the team. Actually, I think it was easy for peeps to let the whole wide world know I was slow because I acted tough on the outside (but teared up on the inside!). Anyways, my coach made absolutely no mention of how slow I ran but that I had heart and could run better. I should mention, right here, that I was so incredibly lucky to have Coach Israel Pose as my very first running coach. Without his inspiration, seeing something in me, and making fun of my height (some things in my life will just never change), my running career might’ve been cut super short (shorter than two years, I mean). It’s no wonder he was nominated for Brooks “Inspiring Coach of the Year” Award. He really should’ve won that. Really.
So, as I’m at the starting line with pigtails and colorful clips in my hair and wearing pom pom socks (hey, don’t judge – if I’m going to look like crap I might as well look good looking like crap), I was a nervous wreck and I think Coach Pose saw it.
“All you have to do is be one of the first 50 finishers to medal. Don’t worry about time because you’re going to PR (personal record).”
He was right about PR-ing..but to be one of the first 50 finishers? Alright, I got this. As the shotgun went off, I made the most common rookie mistake: I bolted. Of course, I was huffing and puffing..during the first mile and I had two more to go! He would meet me at certain points on the course screaming
“Pick up your feet! Swing your arms! Pace yourself! You can do it!”
All I kept thinking was
“Get away from me! I’m not going to be one of the first 50 finishers! Wah!”
As I finally reached the home stretch, I could hear him yelling
“She’s right behind you! She’s gonna get your medal!”
“Oh haaaaaaaail nah!” is what I immediately thought. I suddenly ran like zombies were chasing after me. So, where did I place? 48. Did I care that I was so close to 50 and almost not medal-ing? Nope. Because I got my very first medal! Hollaaah! I was ever so proud of myself as Coach Pose was, too. Yay!
This was the start of my beautiful running career..something that got me to open up my shy self, too. It also got me addicted to PowerBars (they’re quite yummy!).
Until the next post..
keep on running!