I have always said “I can’t run.”

Always. I remember my best friend in high school trying to convince me to join the field hockey team with her. Definitively, as if it explained everything, I replied with absolute authority, “But I can’t run.”

I did join the field hockey team. I played goalie.

For more years of my life than not, I have been physically active. I swam competitively for over ten years. Walked. Tried Jillian Michaels. Biked. Dabbled in yoga. Walked. Tried Jillian Michaels again.  I tend to think of myself as “athletic”, even though I spent the better part of a decade pregnant, lactating, or so sleep-deprived that the most cardiovascular activity I could muster was showering and brushing my teeth.

But never running.  I can’t run.

Then 2010 happened, and suddenly, I didn’t know who I was. Everything that I once held as a universal truth seemed suspect, and I floundered in a sea of pain, anger, mistrust and uncertainty. It was in those waters that I tentatively began running. Rather, jogging. Slowly.

At first, it was just to complete the Heroes for Children 5k in September, 2011. I used the Couch 25k app on my phone, and jogged when I could find time – when my kids were at their father’s, when my boyfriend (now husband) was over at the house to watch the kids. After the race, I took several months off from running, only to start again to get in shape for my May 2012 wedding, and then the HFC 5k again in September, 2012.

I continued to jog, running 2-3, 10-11 minute miles, 2-3x a week. Enough for basic fitness, but not much more. This past summer, I increased my frequency, running 5-6 times a week.

I can’t tell you exactly why. There was no game plan.

Then I decided, on a lark, to add the Austin 5 mile Thanksgiving Turkey Trot to my annual September 5k. It seemed like a safe “next step” – not as far as a 10k, serving more to distract me from a Thanksgiving without my kids than a new race benchmark.

I hoped to run it in under an hour. With a sub-30 min 5k still not on the books (although I’m pretty sure now I could do it), and my longest distance at the time hovering around 3.5 miles, finishing 5 miles in hills and cold in under a 12 minute mile pace seemed ambitious, but not impossible.

I clocked in at 53:21, never breaking stride, with negative splits the last 2 miles.

It was on the oxygen deprived delusion high of that accomplishment that I decided HEY! I can do 5 miles! How hard can 13.1 be?!

can run, as it turns out.

Why am I running a half marathon in April? Because I never believed I could.


10 responses to “13.1

  1. YEAH YOU CAN!!!!!

  2. I’m so proud of you, T!!!!

  3. Heck yeah you can AND YOU WILL!

  4. From another “once a non-runner” to another:
    I totally get this. I started running 3.5 years ago mostly to see if I could actually do it, then quickly got competitive with myself as I saw the positive changes in my body. I suddenly found myself on the treadmill going “just a little faster” or “just a little farther” to test if I could do better than the last time. I got to the point of running about 4-5 miles three times a week, and occasionally doing a 10k just to “see if I could”–
    Then last Saturday, after a 5-day vacation food binge, I returned to the gym to do my regular 4-5 miles. I kept going to 6, then 7, then 8 and once I got to 9, I decided to go all the way to 13.1 (mostly because I figured I’d never get that close to a half-marathon again, and didn’t want to have to try). I ended up doing the whole thing, keeping a 10min/mile pace the whole time, and still can’t believe I ran for 2 hours and 11 minutes without stopping. Endorphins are a crazy thing…I hurt for about a day and a half afterwards, and certainly don’t plan to do it again, but who knows? I didn’t plan on doing it the first time…
    This is my long-winded way of saying that I have no doubt that you can do this, and really, you know you can too.

  5. I get slap happy giddy every time I read your changing views on running, lady…and to think, it was *you* posting your c25K runs that got *me* started…or re-started. Did you know that? Did I ever tell you that? I forget…

  6. after this 13.1, you HAVE to do a tri!! it is in your blood!!

  7. Pingback: The Good Life | I Used to Drive a Minivan

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