This may come as a surprise to you, devoted readers, but I have never been known for my athletic prowess. I have been described in a number of ways ("smart," "tall," and "weird," immediately come to mind). "Athletic" has never really shared a sentence with my name.
Growing up, running was a particular form of punishment. I was slow. I did not have a lot of endurance. I dreaded the annual mile run in PE class.
For the past couple of years I have watched Chris run marathon after marathon, dotted by a couple of half marathons and 10Ks. Proud as I was, I thought he was insane. Then about two years ago, I was on the sidelines while he and his mother ran the Peachtree Road Race, and I felt kind of ashamed. All of these people were running by, lots of them older than me, lots of them heavier than me, and they weren't scared of running. Perverse as it was, some of them seemed to be enjoying themselves. I figured if they could do it, I could do it, and I decided that I would run the Peachtree 10K the following year. Even as I was making that goal, 6.2 miles seemed completely unfathomable.
It took a long time to build up to three miles. A long time. My first 5K took forever, and I wanted to die at the end. But after that, building up to a 10K was not so bad. I ran the 2007 Peachtree, and had the time of my life. And I ran another 10K, and that was pretty fun, too.
So this gets us to last weekend, when I ran the ING Georgia Half Marathon. Me. Slow, uncoordinated, last-picked-in-gym-class, usually-carrying-an-extra-ten-to-twenty-pounds, me. My adorable mother came from Texas to watch, and she did a fantastic job as coach and cheerleader. With the exception of some extremely tired legs around miles 11-12, I felt pretty great through the whole thing. I am still not fast, but I ran the entire 13.1 miles and did not die.
I realize this isn't the kind of thing that generates Oprah-levels of inspiration, but it was pretty exciting. I'm planning to run another half marathon in June in New Zealand. (Chris is doing the full marathon. I still think he's insane.)