by Shirlee Webb
Since we were born, we have had beginnings. We had to begin to walk with all its falls and scrapes and bumps and bruises. We learned to talk,some early some late, but we all began somewhere.
We began school at 5 and spent the next 13 years having ups and downs, successes and failures-good times, bad times. We began to drive at 16–Watch out world!!! How hard was that? Actually it was pretty scary to me.I’ll never forget my first try at a U-turn an parallel parking-what a laugh-what a failure.We began college, we began jobs. Oh my goodness what a memory! I worked a lot as a child , the household chores, babysitting, picking berries and fruit around town-for years!! But beginning a job I had to apply for and interview for my first time was as a grocery clerk. I worked at a store that didn’t mark its prices on its products so I had to memorize the whole store beginning with the cereal row. I had nightmares. Produce prices changed all the time and they each had a code-can’t believe I succeeded at that, but I did, gradually. I look back at that beginning and wonder how did I ever do that? No one could have started that job and knew every price from day one-IMPOSSIBLE and yet possible to gradually be able to do it.
What about marriage and motherhood? I am speaking as a woman here guys. We surely did not succeed at these all at once! As much as I had always looked forward to having children, it was an absolute shock to the system and I knew at that moment I knew nothing about mothering and being successful at it all. For me it began almost 40 years ago and I can say now, through trial and error, and great adversity, that I came through it pretty well and my children survived me and have turned out pretty well adjusted! (Have you kids?)
Well that brings me to running-we all begin somewhere. We don’t decide one day to run a marathon and run one!!!! I was 31 and just had my 5th child, who happens to be the great “Angie Webb” as you know here. I was 220 pounds and a friend asked if I would like to start jogging with her. I thought she was nuts to even ask me but I thought, “if she was so kind to ask, I will be kind and try.”
We ran at night and I gave a 2 week commitment. I had blisters on my blisters, lost toenails, I thought my lungs would burst (that after only after a minute or so of running). My shins and legs just ached! I was so competitive I would not quit even though I was always in pain. After 2 weeks she dropped a boom on me by telling me she needed to run in the mornings . I was converted enough that I didn’t want to quit but I had NEVER been a morning person. So I changed myself and that was the beginning of years and years of getting up at in the morning no matter what the weather and running and I loved it!
That was 32 years ago. I have had so many failures and disappoints and many wonderful successes. I believe I will continue to do so. But I have learned to take these experiences with joy and gratitude for all I have learned on this journey. I need to run as much as I need to breathe and to eat, it is that important to me. Like learning to walk, I first did 5k races, then 10k and I was actually 45 when I ran my first half marathon and then I did my first marathon that same year. I have now ran many many halfs and several marathons including Boston when I was 60. I use only myself as my competition. I always try to do better than I did the last. I keep lofty goals without a deadline—I only know I am going to try and never give up on myself.
There will always be someone who is faster, thinner and much better than I and yet to some (at least a few) I am the faster, thinner and better. So we can see that our only source of satisfaction should be our self. We only need to BEGIN and to enjoy the journey with all it’s hills and valleys, and every once in a while to be able to say I DID IT! and repeat it often enough to know that we are all winners!
Shirlee Oscarson Webb, 62 years young mother of 8, grandmother of 13 (so far). I love running, zumba, swimming, volleyball, sewing, cooking, reading and serving others whenever and wherever I can, and I never, never plan to give up, no matter how hard the hard gets and believe me, I know hard very personally.