Friday, December 20, 2013

Happy Runiversary

Today is my Runiversary.  Not my “I just started” running runiversary, sadly, but I’m celebrating this one as a pretty big milestone nontheless.  I really can’t remember the first time I went for a run that wasn’t required in PE, but I remember Dec. 20, 2011 like it was yesterday.

Two years ago today I had just started my journey to getting healthy.  Inspired by my Best Running Friend Cyndie who had lost over 20 pounds that fall, I started a program called Take Shape For Life.

By December 20 I had lost, I think up to that point close to 20 pounds.  For the first few weeks on the program you are encouraged to take it easy and let your body adjust.  Then I started walking, 30 minutes, every other day.  It was always really cold (thank you December) but I bundled up and I went anyway and I was happy.  I didn’t miss a walk.  Sometimes one of the kids came with me.

For me to even make the effort to go for a walk was monumental.  Sad, considering I’d been somewhat athletic and an on again off again on again off again runner.  Something I loved so much was not as important to me as food, and, well alcohol.

I had grown somewhat dependent on a half-bottle or more a night wine habit when I lost my father 18 months before.  I wasn’t an alcoholic, let me be clear.  But I did use alcohol to numb the pain of a loss I never expected and the guilt of not being a better daughter.  

I always made very meal I could from scratch and convinced myself I was OK because I was eating healthy.  But the pounds piled on, and oh the empty calories and the fullness of a life well-lived just slipping through my fingertips.

The day I hopped on the scale and weighed what my husband weighed was my rock bottom.  He’s 6 foot 4.  I’m, well, not.  I looked in the mirror and realized that no matter what I was the only person in control of my life and my health.  I have a beautiful family, an incredible husband and amazing children and I was putting every proverbial nail in my early death coffin, just like my father.

I talked to Cyndie, she referred me to Beth Kershner, and I never, ever looked back.  So back to December 20th.  What made December 20 different than any other day to start running, I’ll never know.  But that morning, on an 18 degree clear Boise winter day (we were visiting family for the holidays) I put on the warmest things I had, laced up and went out my mom’s back door.

I walked to one song to warm up.  Then ran without stopping to the next song.  Walked another one, ran the next one.  I went for 30 minutes total.  I remember the blue-ness of the sky, the feel of the sun on my face (the only skin exposed to the elements), that amazing smell of a crisp, cool, winter morning.  The hoar frost on the trees and how it glittered like little tiny diamonds as a light breeze blew it off the naked branches.  

I remember the sweat under my (non-wicking dri fit) clothes and how quickly I warmed up.  I remember smiling the entire time I was out there in that frigid cold.  I remember the construction workers checking me out, and I DIDN’T remember the last time that ever happened.  

I remember that, for the first time in a really really really long time, I felt alive.  Really alive.  Oh how I had missed this.  This feeling that nothing and no one could touch me, that I was in control.  

That I could do this, do anything, really.  I didn’t want it to end, but I promised myself just the 30 minutes, and not to overdo it.  So I went inside, smiling on the inside and out and I haven’t stopped since.

There’s so much more to tell in this story but I’m leaving it at this.  So Happy Runiversary to me, and to all of us out there.  If you run a block, a mile or a marathon.  You know what a special, wonderful, crazy gift this thing of running is.  You understand why I want to celebrate the date I reclaimed my life, my health, my sanity and who I am.

I’m many things, but I always have been, and always will be, a runner.

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