Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Running Discoveries

A subscription to Runner's World doesn't make me a runner.

Watching Chariots of Fire doesn't make me a runner.

A closet full of performance fabric and technical apparel doesn't make me a runner.

Running is what makes me a runner.

Out the door before 6am

Cell phone self portrait

And guess what, folks? It's getting easier.

Three years ago today, I said this about myself as a runner:
I stumble and shuffle and suddenly lose the ability to automatically put one foot in front of the other, like those dreams where you forget how to walk. Every footfall takes effort because it feels like I have cinder blocks on the ends of my legs.
My feet don't feel like cinder blocks anymore. Instead, my legs feel like taut rubber bands, springing me forward. My calf muscles and ankles are weak, but I've noticed improvement recently.
Hubbins and I are in week four of our USA Fit program and continue to meet our pace group for a longer run on Saturday mornings. Our early morning start to the weekend makes Saturdays last SO much longer! Bonus. Last weekend we ran on a park trail I'd never been on before (in the town where I've lived most my life). I feel SO fortunate to live in this part of the country, nestled between the Cascade mountains and Puget Sound. Discovering new views of familiar sights is really rewarding.

During the week, I run before work and Hubbins runs on his lunch break. I used to walk every morning when I was in college, but I'd forgotten how peaceful the world is before there's traffic on the roads and the neighbors are still sleeping. Running by myself on weekday mornings gives me a totally different take on the day. I feel so much happier. Every day I don't run feels like PMS in comparison, despondent and bleak.

When I step out of the front door, it's light enough to see where I'm going, but the street lights are still on. I walk five minutes from the house, cross the main arterial, and begin running into the quiet neighborhood nearby. All the birds within earshot sing in perpetual crescendo. The sun comes over the mountains while I'm en route, and if it's clear, I can see Mt. Baker. Mist rises from a field of undeveloped land, protected from the sound of traffic by a narrow forest of evergreens.

I breathe heavy and concentrate on my pace. By the time I get back to the house, I'm red-faced and sweaty. A lukewarm shower never felt so good. Instead of dreading the day, I'm energized. I feel just like I did as a kid after several hours spent swimming in the wave pool: exhausted and content.

It's sinking in: I'm a runner.


  1. Good to see you the other morning, Emily! Keep up the good work!

  2. Very inspiring Emily. I want to be a runner so badly myself and even go so far as to begin a training program but I lack the discipline to keep it up. It really is a mental sport. Kudos to you guys. It must be so rewarding to do this together!

  3. You are a RUNNER, Emily! I'm looking forward to seeing where running takes you.

  4. Great photo lead-in to this post, Emily, and I love the cell photo of you running at dawn! My experience is similar to Nia's... I'm inspired and awed by you and the other B'ham running/writing women, but haven't yet forged my own disciplined relationship to running. Good on you for all of your hard work and commitment!