Why I Keep Movin’

Why I Keep Movin’
Every Mile Matters
by Val

VALThis isn’t one of those heart-string-tugging stories. Nor is it a bittersweet journey of learning about running or who I am. It is just a simple story of two girls who got me moving, a family that believes I am strong and a lost son. And maybe why I keep movin’.

The two ladies on either side of me are my two younger sisters – they are runners !!! They were going with a group to Florida for the 20th Anniversary WDW Marathon in 2013. So why couldn’t I go? Because I am 50 lbs. over weight, I smoke, I walk, I don’t run ! Top 3 reasons to not even think about doing something as silly as trying to attempt a marathon. Those girls trained and trained…and so did I for the next 8 months. I lost 20 lbs., quit smoking in public (yes, I would “sneak” a couple every couple of days if I’m going to be honest) and I walked, then slowly jogged, then walked some more. My feet hurt, my legs hurt and my back hurt, no matter how much I walked. But I pressed on. They all live in Michigan, I live in Northern California. Can you already guess what the temperature difference is going to be for all of us?

VAL2As I said above these two girls are runners so they could have started in one of the earlier starting corrals. They opted to stay with me in the middle of the last corral. I felt special and Blessed to have these ladies sticking with me. We were together until the start line then they took off at their own pace. I didn’t see them again till we all gathered around the finish. They both finished and I was (still am) very proud of them, it was their first marathon. I made it to 14 miles when the heat finally caught up with me and I threw in the towel and took the bus to the finish line. I said that day that I would never do another race.

Those girls have kept me inspired. I have since done 5 half marathons. I did the Humboldt Bay Inaugural Marathon/Half Marathon a couple of weeks ago and although I finished it wasn’t pretty. I had some terrible personal issues slam me to the ground 4 months ago…my son died very unexpectedly at the age of 42 in April of this year. I did a half in May in honor of him and I have to admit it was good therapy and a decent time (3:25). I kept moving and finished in my best time ever with loads of encouragement from friends along the way. But from that day to the day of the Humboldt Bay Run I haven’t put my shoes on except for one attempt. Everything seems to bring me down, the river I walk beside, the birds in the trees, the cows in the pasture. Why should the world go on? That run took me just shy of 4 hours, my feet hurt, my legs hurt and I got dehydrated. I tried every way I could think of to talk myself into just sitting down and waiting for the wagon to pick me up. But you see, as everyone who knows me will tell you, I am not a quitter. I am strong. My brother calls me the Rock of the family (they are all my biggest supporters and strength). And I don’t give up easily. So I straightened my backbone, dug for a little more determination, thought of my son and happy times, and cried my way to the finish line. With only half a dozen people behind me it was finished. And I smiled. I know he would be proud of me for finishing.

I am now signed up for another half in October and am determined to get back to my 3:15 (3:30) walking speed. Thanks to my sisters for all your encouragement. Thanks to local friends for their support. And thanks to Moon Joggers who daily inspire me.

–VAL-   8/16/2015

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