In a fit of whimsy last February, I signed up for a marathon in Florida. Nothing about Florida has ever quite agreed with me (except the friends I love who live there, of course!), but it was the longest, coldest, harshest winter I could remember and running a marathon in the heat sounded like fun.
So I chatted with a friend and paid over $100 and signed up to run with her. I had a basic training plan in mind and figured that was all good. Then I talked to my family down there and arranged my schedule and did all of the things.
And somewhere in the midst of my fantasy, I decided I should tell the person who inspired me to run, Judy, that I was going to run a marathon.
Before I ever ran with Judy – I hated running. And the people I knew who ran also hated running. So I just assumed that running was terrible and nobody liked it and maybe the only people who did like it were really, really good at it. Or maybe they were disillusioned by their addiction. (But swimming in freezing cold water is TOTALLY awesome and fun).
I can still remember the first couple of races I ran with Judy – my first ever 5k, a 4+ miler in the middle of the winter, and a 10k in the Fall. She was so… happy. All the stinkin’ time! I was convinced by the sheer force of her positivism, that running was not miserable as I had been led to believe.
Running was fun! It was, indeed, great fun! And I didn’t need to be superhuman to enjoy it, either. She loved it so entirely, I thought that there must be something about it that I could love, too.
Her spark set me on a journey to find my feet.
When I wrote to her to tell her of my marathon dreams, she confessed that she was in the process of becoming a running coach and offered to help me with my aspirations if I could help her with hers. Winning!
I had a long, terrible, hard summer ahead of me – full of really miserable things I didn’t foresee. I was a tough client. And I did more than my fair share of complaining and ranting to poor Judy who was always trying to keep me positive and on track. She always remained flexible and encouraging through all of my difficulties – injury, emotion, frustration, and scheduling.
The fact is, she was exactly what I needed. I am ever so grateful.
Because I needed to run this past summer. I needed to. I don’t entirely understand it, but it did something for me that swimming couldn’t. It made me feel strong in a way that nothing else ever has.
There were times where I found that spark, that light, that joy that I always so admired in Judy. There were moments where I understood why people run. There were times I found that place of perfect contentment. And I would fight to stay there or to find that connection over and over again.
I am ever so glad to Judy for being the spark that began my journey, for being my rock through a hard time, for helping across the finish line… but mostly for being the open door in my life that led me to something about myself that I really like that I didn’t know before:
I’m a runner.
Congratulations, Judy, on your recent coaching certification. We have both crossed the finish line! You have always inspired me just by being who you are. Anyone you coach will be lucky to have your wealth of knowledge, your intuition, your guidance and wisdom, and especially that bright and positive energy and love for running that you exude. I hope you infect and inspire many more athletes to come with your boundless passion.