I am going to start at the very beginning. The reason this has come up is because my daughter Chloe will be running Cross Country for Clearview Middle School in the fall. She asked me why I started running. Hmmmmm….well after careful thought, here is my story. Before the triathlon club, before the triathlons, the marathons, before my daughters, my husband and way before college, I became a runner. The reason I decided to run wasn’t because of any natural talent or physical gift that I had. It wasn’t my love of running or a super competitive side of me that needed to win. The reason I became a runner is simple. I liked a boy.. maybe I loved this boy and my goal was to make him notice me.
I was 5’9″ and skinny as a straw, the summer of “Sun In” just a bad hair summer. I was 13 (soon to be 14) years old and a freshman in high school. He was 5’3″ 15 years old and the best runner in school. He was on the cross country team, I was on the cross country team. It was destiny. I knew what had to be done. I had to be the best female runner he has even seen! Bang- off goes the gun.
Cross country in the fall where one mile became 3 miles and turned into 6 miles. Track in the spring where speed work became a part of my life, 220’s, 440′, 800’s. I was doing the 1/2 mile, mile and 2 mile at every track meet. I went to cross country camp and I pushed myself day after day. I earned the right to start running with him (be still my beating heart). By the time I was a sophomore in 1985, I was placing 1st or 2nd in most races. A flashing smile from him or a pat on the back would carry me for days. He was captain of the boys team and I was captain of the girls team. It was all falling into place, I knew our friendship was going to turn into something more and then IT happened. I turned the hallway and right in front of me I saw him holding hands with another girl in school. My loud gasp, quiet tears and the furious scratching of all the hearts on my book cover followed. I remember saying to my friends over and over “she doesn’t even run, she isn’t even athletic, she can’t run a mile”. Two hours later we had a track meet and it was that fateful day that I blew away the school record for the 1 mile. New school record: 1985/ 1 mile: 5:50. Onward and upward to taller men!
So that is how it all began and of course my dramatic love story didn’t affect my passion for running. I continued to run cross country and track but the addition of boobs and hips my junior year didn’t really help me break any more school records. I made life long girlfriends by running cross country and track. All of them were in my wedding and we are all still friends today. I have a quote painted in my exercise room “Runs end, Running doesn’t” which I find very true. When I run in the fall I always think of those cross country days, the smell of the leaves and the air. I always get a smile on my face when I see a cross country team out on the road. Often when I run, I fall back on those elemental running techniques I learned it high school. Lean into the hills, hold the potato chip, head up, chest out, breathe. After I had my kids I added distance to my running resume. The Broad Street Run turned into 1/2 marathons which turned into full marathons. Marathons became boring so they turned into triathlons. Triathlons were fun.. the more the merrier and we have ourselves a club- but it did all start with cross country.
After thinking about this, I guess a thank you is order. Jeff Evans, wherever you are.. thank you, it all worked out 🙂