I’m a runner. I wasn’t always. In fact, up until the age of 18, when I went off to college and began to fear the fabled freshman 15, I did pretty much zero exercise. Even then and for the next several years, I was a pseudo-runner, heading out for a leisurely 2-3 miles when it suited me, sometimes taking long hiatuses because it conflicted with my busy schedule of studying, waiting tables, and drinking. Pete and I often ran together, but still never on such a regular schedule or with a level of devotion and intensity that I’d have dubbed either of us bona-fide runners. Then we moved to Mebane. And Pete became more enraptured with cycling. And he abandoned poor little lonely me at least twice, often thrice a week for his group rides. I needed something to occupy my time, and if that something also helped me to get back in shape and lose some of the 10 or so pounds I’d piled on since moving away from the mountains, well sign me up! That’s exactly what I did. I signed up. For the Mebane Running Club.
That was Spring of 2006. Four years later and I’m a total addict. I cannot imagine my life without running. It’s a part of who I am, a need, somewhere up there on Maslow’s hierarchy near food and sex, maybe slightly less important than breathing. Sure, there are still times when I hate it. When my legs feel like lead and my lungs ache and I suffer through a few miles spending the entire jaunt thinking of how much this sucks and how many other awesome things I could be doing. Show me an addiction that isn’t challenging, that doesn’t slap you around every now and then and twang every string of emotion on your mental banjo. Yeah, I just made that up. Banjos got a bad rap from Deliverance. They deserve a second chance.
When I found out I was pregnant, though I was acutely aware of the limitations I would soon face, I really had no idea just how limited I would be, especially when it came to running. I always imagined myself a fit preggo, mostly because I was a fit non-preggo and why suddenly change just because I was growing a baby inside me? On the contrary, I only saw that as more of a challenge and I maybe, sort of, just a wee bit thrive on competition and challenge. Well, guess what? It’s hard. Harder than I expected. Which is plain silly, because how could it not be? There’s 25 extra pounds (and growing) hanging around on my body. Carrying that in conjunction with increasing diaphragm pressure and a baby sucking up much of my fuel makes for a much slower Sarah. But I loooooove running and I’m keeping at it for as long as I’m physically comfortable doing so, and definitely plan to stop before potentially causing any long term damage to my uterus. I mean, no one wants their uterus to fall out. And someone once told me this could happen. She was perhaps overly dramatic about it, but all the same, she’s a smart lady and I’d rather not risk it.
This past weekend I went to Charleston with 8 other ladies from the fine town of Mebane and we all participated in the Cooper River Bridge Run 10K. I had set my expectations very low and was totally prepared to walk some of the race, but by taking it easy and paying close attention to my pace and breathing I was able to run all 6.2 miles! And I felt amazingly good. Everyone kicked ass, and I was so proud of all my buddies. This morning I hit the pavement for 3 pre-dawn miles with some of those same ladies, and maybe Saturday I’ll get in some running club action. Must run while I can! I fear the end is near and I’m not sure how I’ll cope with so much time off. I suppose I’ll just have to set my sights on a late Fall race to give me a goal for getting back on the wagon. Twitch, twitch, twitch.