In late September 2012, a couple months into a new-found fitness addiction and healthy eating lifestyle (at the ripe old age of 42!), I decided to get brave and try a Couch to 5K Running program. At that point, I had never run a day in my life. Running was one of those things I had always shrugged off, even mocked. I didn’t see the point of it, and why anyone would willingly run when they could walk was beyond me.
My history proved that although I had never battled weight issues (until my 40’s came screaming around the corner), I certainly was not physically fit. Even as a child, I was far from athletic. But, when I discovered my love for fitness routines and planks in the summer of 2012, and saw the impact it made on my rapidly aging body…suddenly running didn’t seem so impossible. It was at that point I decided that maybe it was time that I give it a try.
But not for myself, but in honor of those I had loved and lost.
My goal was to run 1 mile of the Free to Breathe Lung Cancer Awareness 5K in October. I would participate in memory of my grandfather, Joe Cash, and my mother Paula, who I had lost in 2010 at age 60, to lung cancer. I had remembered, toward the end of her illness while resting in bed, she was moving her legs while sleeping. When she awoke, she shared that she had dreamt that she was running. And I thought, what a beautiful way to pay tribute to my mother’s memory. I would run. 1 mile. For her.
Because I had never felt a desire to run for myself, ever.
That changed. When I started running, I could barely run a minute straight. I fought hard to commit to it. Running one continuous mile was far harder than committing to the workout plan I had embraced over the summer. I had fully absorbed, into every ounce of my being, a true love for fitness. I loved the challenge it brought and the change I saw in my body.
But running? No, this would be a TRUE test. And not something I thought I would fully embrace.
Approximately halfway through the C25K program, I got injured. Too much, too soon. My body rebelled. I took two weeks off and when I returned I had lost track of where I had left off with the plan. It was frustrating. But more than anything, I realized I wanted to run one mile on October 20th for my mom. Just one mile of the 3.1 miles had to be possible. I’d make it possible.
And it was. On October 20th of 2012, I not only ran 1 mile, I ran 2, then 3, then 3.1. My first 5K, in memory of those I loved and lost. Three point one beautiful, glorious miles. I ran them all for my grandpa and for my mom.
And now? I run for me. It has quite literally been love ever since. I have since completed numerous 5K’s, a 10K and my first half marathon last September (Rock ‘n Roll Half Marathon – it literally rocked!). I most recently completed my SECOND half marathon in May.
My love for running was not one that I ever expected. It was something I was doing for someone else, in honor and memory of my mother. Over a year later, I run for my own sense of peace, my own love of the run. It never lets me down and it always lifts me up.
With every ounce of who I am, I can say “I love to run.”
Words I never thought I’d say. And words my mom would have rejoiced in.