Today is Global Running Day and since the name of this blog is Peanut Butter Runner, I thought we should celebrate.
Like most relationships, ours has had its fair share of ups and downs over the last 15 years. Okay, wait. Let’s stop here. Can you believe it’s been 15 YEARS!?!? We got our start when I was training for a timed mile run for college cheerleading tryouts.
I’ll never forget how just one mile around my high school track in the South Georgia summer heat made me feel. (not good!)
Once I quit cheering you were there for me throughout all four years of college as both a way for me to stay in shape while leading the college lifestyle (thank god for you when 2 a.m. stops at the hot dog man became the norm) and also manage stress. I have so many fond memories of running around beautiful and historic Milledgeville and Athens, Georgia with sounds of John Mayer and Dave Matthews Band in my ears!
We took our relationship to the next level after college when I moved to Charleston, South Carolina and joined my first ever running group to train for the 2006 Myrtle Beach Half Marathon. Learning to long run was a massive learning experience for me and I remember coming home from those sweaty low country training runs and all I could do was lay on the couch for a couple of hours and recuperate. I remember when 7 or 8 miles would put me out for the entire afternoon!
I traveled to Myrtle Beach solo and met up with my training group. Gosh, I had all the butterflies the next morning getting ready for the race. I finished my first half marathon in 2:14 and it was an amazing feeling. I was hooked and quickly came home and signed up for the Chicago Marathon.
Well, that never happened. I was a little optimistic about my ability to move to a new state, job hunt and train all at the same time. I took a couple of years off from long distance running before registering for the 2008 Mercedes Marathon in Birmingham, Alabama.
I can confidently say that running that marathon was the hardest thing I have ever endured physically but we made it through together and you pushed me right up to my edge but I learned a lot about how tough I could be. (Read this post to get the full recap of my first marathon experience.) I was a pretty beaten up after that race so it was time for us to take another mini break. I focused on getting certified to teach BodyPump and making my body strong in new ways but you were always there for me when I needed to get a quick run in.
When I moved to Charlotte running became really fun again! I lived on one of the city’s most popular running loops and Sullie starting joining me!
I tried (unsuccessfully) to train for another marathon. You have taught me so much about patience and learning to listen to my body.
I finally got to line up at the starting line of another marathon when I ran the Marine Corps Marathon in 2010. The road to MCM wasn’t without its injuries or struggles but you’ve also taught me determination and hard work. While this race experience was super tough, it was nothing like my first so I was grateful that you gave me that gift! I couldn’t believe how great I felt after this marathon in comparison to my first. (Read my MCM race recap in this post.)
Over the course of the year that I trained for MCM, I also discovered yoga. After the marathon I decided to take a break from distance running and focus on my yoga practice again. Little did I know it would become a LONG break from you. I didn’t run another race longer than a 5 or 10K for four years! Once again, you were always there for me anytime I needed to get a run in, no matter the distance.
I absolutely hated you one summer and thought that I would never enjoy running again. I came to find out that it was anemia and not you that was making our relationship so bad.
I am so grateful to one of my yoga friends for getting me back into a solid running routine.
Running was something that I had always loved to do solo and keep private but I learned how much fun it could be to share you with friends. (Wait, does that sound weird?)
The 2014 Thunder Road Half Marathon was one of my favorite race experiences ever. We set a new PR and I had an amazing race! It truly made me fall in love with you again.
Since then I have enjoyed running more than ever. Many question me calling myself a runner now that I’m not constantly focused on running or running a ton of races but I like it that way. Keeping our relationship casual has been the best course it could take. You never judge me whether I’m cool with running 3 miles here and there or actively training for a race.
Running, I can never thank you enough for first and foremost, introducing me to the fact that I could love physical exercise. You ultimately ended up changing the direction of my life. I’m also grateful for the lessons you’ve taught me and for the release you’ve provided me. I’ve learned how to listen to my body, how to be more patient with myself and how to toughen up. You’ve also shown me how strong I am and how much I can endure. You were there for me in so many moments where I literally didn’t know what else to do with the energy or emotions that I was holding. There have been so many runs where you’ve just been there for me while tears streamed down my cheeks. You give me space to work through what I need to and I always feel better on the other side.
So 15 years later I want to give you a big hug and say THANK YOU! You will truly always be my number one. And with that, I’m off to celebrate Global Running Day with a 4 miler!
(Peanut Butter Runner)