Running and I have a strange relationship. It’s touch-and-go. I never dreamt of running (in fact I hated it) until my mother picked it up while I was studying abroad. This was an odd development. But I thought – if my mom can do it, I can do it too. This began a love-hate relationship as I jogged slow laps around St. Stephen’s Green in Dublin.
Upon my return to Boston my senior year, running fell by the wayside. Then, my college roommate moved back who was all into half-marathons (she’s a great runner) and peer pressured me into running the first-ever Cox Providence half in April of 2008. I found myself running up and down Beacon St. in seriously improper running clothes in preparation. It was quite a feat for me, and I was proud to have finished – as someone who just months earlier really thought it would be impossible. That accomplished, I felt I had tackled running and I put it aside.
Two big things changed my attitude towards running after that.
First: I met my fiancé as he ran the Boston Marathon in 2010. I literally jumped in off the street and ran him to the finish line. I wouldn’t cross it as I hadn’t trained and didn’t want anyone to clap for me. Which led me out of the course, waiting at the corner of Newbury at Exeter, hoping that anyone I knew would walk by (you know, with my keys, phone, purse, whatever). In fact, it was the man I ran with who found me first. After he had speedily crossed the finish line, he doubled back to find me. I thought if it can find you true love, it’s probably a hobby worth pursuing.
Second: I made a really great friend running. I met Sarah Hodges, formerly of RunKeeper, through mutual friends. We bitched and complained about being bad runners who don’t run well with others. Then we went for a run together. Our first run was in June of 2011. Three to four times each week, we meet at 6:30 am and run various loops around Boston – though we primarily complete the Mass Ave to Longfellow Bridge Charles River run. In the course of that year plus, running has grown on me. We’ve gotten better, though we certainly aren’t the fastest people out there. We see familiar faces each and every time. And we have a great time. For the first time in my life, running is fun.
I’ve grown to like it enough that I accepted an invitation to run the Mass Dash, a 12-person 200-mile relay race across the state of Massachusetts in July. All fundraising goes to the Jimmy Fund. It was hard. But it was enormously fun. We talk about the van race more often than I care to admit.
In fact, I was even wearing my van-race team shirt when Marathon Man proposed (Team name: GET IN THE VAN – if you must know). So I guess running and I will stay the course and see what other adventures we find, because a bit of fresh air, a future husband and a best friend aren’t half bad to owe to running.