Every Mile Matters

Every Mile Matters
By Elaine Knipe

As a middle school kid, I got the opportunity to run track. As I ran three years of track, what I enjoyed the most was being competitive and running fast. I must admit I hated any track event with any long distance and why well because I wanted the fast and quick results at that time in my running. That’s the runners high I was after. Unfortunately, after middle school my running diminished and the zeal for running was forgotten about. I no longer looked for the satisfaction of running which I look back now with regret. Moving forward 11 years, mid-twenties with a struggle of addiction on my hands and needing some sort of release and way to cope of how to get my life right. Running was coming up in my head to pick back up, and so I did and with every time I went out the door to run. My head and heart was starting to know of what I needed to start to do.

As I was getting situated in this new clean lifestyle running was back in my life. My runs weren’t with any real long distance but enough to be part of the much needed therapy that my life needed. Almost every day a 30 min run was part of my day first thing. With completion of treatment and laying out of what’s next in this rebuilding of my life, the constant hustle and bustle of life which entailed the finding of clean and sober living, finding of a sponsor, work and striving of how to be reunited with my children who were living with my parents as I went and got treatment. Yet again at this time in my life running took back burner and diminished. What was I thinking? I don’t know but again look back with regret on why this activity that I knew that added to my happiness was on the way side.

For years it remained this way, I forgot the awesomeness of running and the therapy that it gave me. Being established in my life and raising my children and now married I had become overweight and was not active in any way except for work and caring for my family. We had signed onto a gym membership in our area and used it maybe once, twice a week. Then friends we had just met also had signed up for a membership and come to find out she was a runner. With it being years of not hearing that word running, it was like walking past an old friend that you were pleased to see again. At this point I almost forgot how to start or even know what to do .However; I was soon reunited to my old friend running. She asked me if I wanted to start running with her in the mornings before our families woke up. With feeling of hesitation and excitement I did it! Up at 4:30 and running at 5 am I was on a treadmill. Ready but nervous I pushed “go” on the treadmill and it was time to get to it, let’s do this and see where it goes this time.

After doing 2 miles I felt as if I completed the Boston Marathon, what an accomplishment with being overweight and unhealthy. Wanted to quit that whole week, but I knew I needed to stick it out. Then she said,” Lets run outside 4 miles on Sat Morning.” With immediately feeling a lack of confidence, to be able to complete, I pushed on anyway. I said, “I would be there.” Saturday came and it was early morning with the sky of pretty pink and blue and sun starting to rise and the cool just right tempts and the quietness that you get to have when you get up crazy early .It was like the town belonged only to us. So we parked at the gym and started to head to a scenic part of Sandy. Yikes! My lungs and legs started to burn not far from where we started and I was thinking to myself what happened to my love for running? My feelings of hating what I was doing was confusing me and had me discouraged but kept going with stop and walk  and then run again method. I just couldn’t wait for the next break to come. As we pass the scenic view of the beauty before us was when I started to appreciate the pain I was going through and running wasn’t an enemy but rather a friend I had to get to know again and wanted too. As we headed to the end of our run, it was bittersweet, I wanted to continue but my body was saying leave it for another day. I hugged her and thanked her over and over for getting me out and getting me reacquainted to running again. As the week went on there were days she couldn’t meet but I would go anyway on my own. It was an opportunity for me to see what I was going to do with this. I was running 3-4 times a week, before I knew it and loved it. Couldn’t wait for the next time I could run. Again it was my therapy, my chance to think, to challenge myself. In no time I was running 5 miles, 7 miles, 10 miles and being someone who hated long distance I sure loved my long run days. Today, running is my challenge to myself that I constantly keep reevaluating. First, it was to be fast and win, then distance to cover and now it’s to do long distance and speed. My goal is to run Boston one day and will keep striving until I do. And that is what running has taught me is to keep striving in all aspects of my life. The extra special blessing that running has given me I get to at times run with my kids and hubby they will go on runs with me, do races with me and will support me in my running. Even though running has been in and out of my life it has given me what I have needed at that time, for that I am forever grateful.

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