I’ve never been a runner. I’ve been an athlete all my life but NEVER a runner.
However, after having my son, I felt I needed to do something to try and get back in shape. Running was the easiest solution. I could take my son and dog with me since the only chance I had to run was the time I spent each morning with them.
It was also the cheapest. I wouldn’t have to pay for daycare or a gym membership as I could just run in our neighborhood. Thanks to my company’s fitness plan I was able to get a brand new jogging stroller for practically nothing (it just cost me the price of shipping).
Running also gave me time to think. There’s a solace you get while running that I never knew. It’s just you out on the road or trail, a perfect time to contemplate life.
I set my sights high and found a beginner to half-marathon training program. I figured if I could get to that level great, but I’d go as far as I could.
Those first few runs were rough but as time went on they became easier. So I decided I should look into completing an actual race. While I would have loved to do the Detroit Half-Marathon (it takes you over the Ambassador Bridge and through the tunnel to Canada), my busy schedule got the best of me. Instead of running 3 days a week as the program suggests, I was lucky to get 1 or 2 days in. A good friend of mine (who is a runner) mentioned her favorite race, The Mackinac Bridge Color Run. So that became my goal. I’d run the 5 miles suspension bridge. While 5 miles may not be a lot for some runners, it was for me (then again a 2 mile run was a lot when I started). The race was schedule for October (at the peak of the color change) allowing me the entire summer to gear up for the run.
Seeing other runners accomplishing their goals gave me motivation to keep running and reach mine. People who were running after a disability, an injury, illness, or the mom who ran a half-marathon and pumped during it. That mom is my hero and a queen at multi-tasking. If you haven’t heard her story check it out here. If they could do it, so could I.
On race day I woke up early (even though my alarm didn’t go off). I was nervous, excited, and sleepy but ready to go. I laced up my shoes and dressed in multiple layers since it was supposed to be a cold and windy morning. At race headquarters we boarded bus that took us to the north side of the bridge (they block off one side of the bridge and keep the other open for traffic). People came from all over the state and even neighboring ones. On the bus I meet a group of moms from Chicago who were making a girls weekend of the race. In total there were over 500 of us racing the Might Mac that morning.
Having never truly run in a race before, the first mile was all about remembering my own pace and not trying to run to fast or to slow. I have also never had a run where you were battling that much wind. The gusts would come in from the North West (which may have helped with getting a better time). There were a few instance it thought the wind might literally lift me off the ground. It also caused a serious case of wind burn for the entire right side of my body.
By mile 3 I was hitting my stride. I chose not to track my pace during the race since my goal was to simply finish. To my surprise, I had recorded my best time yet!
When I would tell people I was training for a race, most responded the same way. They’d laugh and respond “I’m not a runner.” I would say the same thing. “Neither am I”. Now, after completing my first race, I feel like I can officially join the club.
Will my time get better? Hopefully. I’d love to run at an even quicker pace. Will I ever get to half-marathon status? Maybe. I have my passport ready just in case I ever decided to do the Detroit International Half. If neither of those come to pass, I’ll be happy just the same. I set a goal, pushed myself, and completed it. Now, I can say, I’m a runner!