I fell in love with running several years ago and our relationship has been on and off again for well over 15 years.  I’m not sure why I take breaks other than the times when running physically beats me up.  I really love our alone time.  Feet to pavement, heavy panting, sweaty smile at the finish.  Ah, the ridiculous craziness of running!!

In 2009 I decided to take it serious and talked my husband into joining me.  We joined a running club and beginning running group.  We ran our first race.  Oh, I should tell you I really like to run alone so he would run his race and I would run mine.  I ran another race and decided to sign up for a half marathon, 13,1 miles.  My pace was about 10.5-11 minutes per mile and I was feeling good about myself.

Enter severe back spasms and time off running.  I would try to start training and would suffer the spasm.  After much thought I decided to not run the half.  I felt like a failure but at the same time knew I was doing the right thing for my body.  Would I run again or was that part of my life over.

Enter 2013.  My husband and I, both retired, wintered in Marco Island, Florida.  The weather was beautiful all of January and February and I began running again most everyday.  We returned to our hometown of Bloomington, Illinois which was snow covered in March!!  We decided to move to Fort Myers, Florida which is about 70 miles north of Marco and about 70 times less expensive.  We began running again at the end of March.  We were scheduled to run a race in mid June and decided to keep running through all the packing, painting, pitching and parting.  We ran that race and moved to Fort Myers in August.  Running weather year round.  YEAH!!

Our condo lanai opens about 20 feet from the trail through our preserve.  No excuses.  I run most every day.  Unfortunately, my pace is more like 17 minutes as opposed to 2009’s 11, but I keep on running.  Running is the one constant in all the change of moving and becoming part of a new community.  I love it and love running through our preserve, but running in itself was not enough.  I needed another race.

We signed up to do the Edison Lights 5k in downtown Fort Myers in February.  Although I ran most every day, my pace was not improving.  Oh well, run it anyway.

We lined up and at the sound of the gun started the race.  This race is a Boston 5k qualifier and I kid you not there were runners heading back before I got to Mile 1.  My husband ran past me.  Other runners ran past me.  Old people ran past me.  Little kids were circling me.  I was slowly fading to last place!  I was going to lose this race!!  I never expect to win a race, but last place!!  

I could feel my Type A personality begin to take over.  However, even Type A couldn’t make my legs run any faster.  Anger took over and I was thinking, this will be my last race, the last time I run!!  I was so disappointed and embarrassed.  The only reason people were still lining the street was they were waiting for the Edison Lights Parade that was set to begin in an hour.  And then the craziest thing happened to me.

Maybe it’s that older woman who’s taking over for the Type A younger woman.  Maybe I’d just been through a huge change moving from a familiar to an unfamiliar place.  Maybe I’d suffered bigger loses in my life.  Whatever it was, my mood changed.  I decided to enjoy the moment.  I was last!  So what!  At least people waiting for the parade had someone to chuckle at.  I cheered and laughed with the crowd.  I high-fived the kids!  Some guy yelled, :I think you’re first” and I laughed so hard I lost my breath for a second!  I had to ask directions at a fork in the rode and that cracked a bunch of spectators up.  They pointed this way, no that way, no this way!!  I smiled and kept running.  I kept on running through the finish.  I replaced a lost race with a joyful moment and realized why I love to run in the first place.  Running is persevering.  Running is freeing.  Here’s to running.


3 thoughts on “Speed Isn’t Everything

  1. It sounds to me like you WON the race. I liked the pace of your story and the contrast with the change in your life and your constant desire to run, no matter where or what. Bravo!

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