Running makes me cry. Exhaustion makes me cry. Come to think of it, a lot of things make me cry. I’m an emotional sort. I’ve been known to sob mid-Crossfit workout (you didn’t know that, did you, 6am crew?), and wail over Facebook videos of elephants reuniting and Johnson & Johnson commercials. Oh, my poor husband. And here, for your viewing pleasure, is the most unflattering ugly-cry picture that I could find in my preparation for this blog post:
This picture was taken just after I’d finished the Toronto Marathon in 2002, which subsequently qualified me to run the Boston marathon. My qualifying race happened at a very pivotal time in my life- I had just moved to Toronto six weeks prior, not knowing a soul, and I set my sights on seeing the city through my long training runs, with the ultimate goal of running a Boston-qualifying time that October. The first week of September came and went, and I was immersed and swallowed up into the intensity that is Chiropractic College. I made fast friends, and those friends rallied around me and supported me like true friends do, even hosting a carb-loading potluck for me, and crawling out of bed on a cold Sunday morning to watch me cross the finish line and cry, cry, cry.
April 2003 rolled around, and Boston came and went. The actual race is a blur for me; I was too high on adrenaline and I-can’t-believe-this-is-actually-happening to take it all in. But I remember the hills, I remember the sunburn, and I remember scanning the finishing stretch on Boylston Street for my parents, who had stood five people deep for four hours just to catch a glimpse of my dream coming true. And it was a dream come true, as it is for many distance runners- the ultimate goal, the Shangri La of races.
After that, I ran a few more marathons. Five in total, actually, until I realized that my desire to slog through 26.2 miles was waning. I embraced the half-marathon, where my brain and body seemed to find a better fit. Then I finished school, got married, started my practice, and had my babies. And I ran through it all. A jogging stroller is my must-have, my running wardrobe is ridiculously large, and pre-dawn runs are still common. But running has become less I-have-to and more I-need-to; I need to feel the air in my lungs, I need to hear my feet on the ground, I need to do my very best thinking.
And now there’s another I-need-to: I need to show my children passion. For me, that passion manifests in running.
But whatever your passion is, I hope the people around you can see it.
My three-year-old daughter and I sat together yesterday and watched the elites cross the finish line. I tried to explain that “Mommy ran that race” and “Grandma and Grandpa came to watch.” She asked me if she can “get big, and run that race too?” “I’ll do it with you Mommy,” she said. “No, I’ll do it myself,” she reconsidered. And then she jumped off the couch and ran through the kitchen, in her sparkliest shoes and brightest pink tights, and showed me how she can “do it myself.”
Exactly, sweet girl. Find your passion and follow it. Be yourself, for yourself.