Adrenaline. I love it. That rush of emotion that powers you through when you have nothing left….I really don’t think there is anything that compares to it. That feeling is one I get before every race, not just the big ones, but the 5ks, too.
A week away from the Nashville half marathon, my blood is pumping. I am freakin ready.
I know I write about running a lot. To people who don’t run, it probably is very boring to read. I can’t help the excitement I get when I talk about running. To me, it is the greatest thing I have ever done for myself. Running is a new journey that every day I get to embark on…it makes me feel good inside and out, and maybe that is why I am always trying to suck others into the running world. The reality is that as much as I would like everyone to get the runner’s high I get every single time I run, I can’t always convince others to do so. Making the decision to run is something you have to make for yourself.
I think about why I decided to start running a lot, and while there are multiple reasons why I wanted to run, it all comes back to my father. I remember a trip to New Haven, Connecticut that my family took when I was younger to watch my father run a marathon. I remember lots of things about that trip….making bets with my brother about Counting Crow lyrics…cruising around Yale and watching new students getting ready to move in….and most importantly, the feeling of pride and excitement I got as I watched my dad finish that race. I knew someday I wanted to have that feeling of accomplishment for myself.
To be honest, I thought running would be easy. I’ve always been active…I played three sports in high school…was a college athlete…and participated in numerous volleyball leagues and roller derby after college was over. It had to be easy.
No, no it wasn’t.
The first 5K I ever did was terrible and difficult. I was disappointed in my time and that I had to stop to walk a little. Then I learned the secret to running: the feeling when you cross the finish line. All of the pain and discomfort quickly disappeared when my time was clocked, and I was thankful that I wore my running sunglasses so no one else could see that I was crying with joy as I finished. My first year as a runner was full of moments like that, and literally every race I do, even to this day, I get teary eyed as I approach the finish. You can call me a baby, I won’t take offense to it. The reality is that I am a very passionate person. I’m proud of the emotion I feel when I run. If that makes me a baby, buy me some diapers, because I’m a huge one.
Yes, when I run I rock out to a fine medley of tunes, but I also think a lot. The one thing I think about every single race is an email my dad sent me before the last basketball game I ever played in high school. He sent it to me in April of 1999 as I prepared to play in my final All Star game. To most people, they won’t know who the people he mentions are, but the message of it meant so much to me that I still have the email after all of these years. The words stick with me always.
A week away from the marathon in Nashville means that my nerves are a mess, yet I am so excited I could pee my pants. It also means that I am remembering how lucky I am to have the opportunity to run. Yes, I get to travel to a fun city with one of my best friends and experience something great together. More importantly, I’m remembering that regardless of how I do in the race, the bottom line is that I am doing it.
As I pack my bags for the trip next week, one thing is for sure. This email, and my dad’s words, will be in that bag and with me as I cross that finish.