I hit a milestone this weekend. I’ve officially been running for five years. What started as a whim with a friend to participate in a fundraising 5K has turned into a regular habit.
On that April day I had no idea that I was sparking something that would take me far more miles than I ever thought possible. I would never have dreamed of running a half marathon… training for a full marathon… going out there and tackling triathlons. No, on that April day in 2009 I was just hoping to run three miles without stopping and to not embarrass myself. After that, I found myself running a couple of times a week. And then I found myself trying to push the running boundaries and about seven months later, I registered for my first half marathon. I think that November day when I clicked “register” for an event that was six months in the future – an event that would require training and distance running – was the day I started calling myself a runner.
As my Race Reports page notes, it took me a while to consider myself a runner. But if the past five years have taught me anything, they’ve taught me that it’s not about pace or finish order. No, running is about meeting challenges, making friends, breathing fresh air, feeling rain drops on your skin, making footprints in the snow, seeking the shady routes on a hot summer day, noticing the beauty of the world around us, finding trails, pounding sidewalks, planning training schedules, daring to line up at a race start, cheering (or crying) as you cross a finish line and planning your day around getting out for a run.
Today I’ll celebrate my 5th Run-iversary by running the same distance I started with. I’ll even tackle that same hill that was so hard that first year (a hill I’ve run repeats on countless times in the years since). I’ll cheer for myself when I finish in my driveway. And I’ll already be thinking about where I’m going to run tomorrow.