Monday, March 19, 2012

Running: As Contagious as the Stomach Flu

Ever notice that running can be as contagious as the stomach flu? Once one person is projectile vomiting, everyone has to take part.

{I had a fun image to load here, but will skip it. Vomiting makes me sick}

I’ll go on a “toss-your-cookie” tangent for a moment: I remember one December many years ago – Sam was just a toddler. We had several couples over for a paella dinner, which I was cooking with my bare, ungloved and apparently germy hands. The day prior, Sam had had a stomach bug, but as we all know, toddlers move through puke fests as quickly as Lucky loses body parts.

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Missing one leg, one eye, two balls. What’s next?

Anyway, about an hour after everyone left, Ken got really sick. Suffice it to say he will NEVER again eat paella or anything that remotely resembles this food.

Goodbye, my friend. We can’t hang out anymore.

I called all of the unfortunate souls who had been at the party to warn them. Everyone cheerfully assured me they were fine, no rumblings of anything. Paella had stayed the course and not made re-entry. Sweet! But, the next morning, about 36 hours post-paella consumption, every single person who was there called me to say they were violently ill. Both ENDS! I was the only person who did not get sick. No, it was not food poisoning. My food would never do that.

It seems these days that running is the equivalent of a paella fueled stomach bug. Think about it - How did you decide to run your first half or full marathon? Was it because someone you knew or could relate to had done it?

For me, I never even entertained the thought that I could run distance. It was just one of those huge and impressive things that other people did.  I wasn’t worthy and I certainly did not have what it took athletic-wise.

In July of 2008, I sat across from my friend, Clair, sipping chilled white wine on a roof-top patio overlooking Boulder, Colorado. Clair, a dear and long time friend, had just arrived from Virginia and told me she was training for her first half marathon. She looked fitter and happier than I had ever seen her. I could not wrap my head around the fact she was going to run 13.1 miles. What a stud! Good for her, I thought. I could never do that.

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Clair and me at the Boulder 70.3 last year

Yet, something must have settled into my subconscious. One month later when I got a  postcard in the mail from Team in Training (TIT, as I call it) inviting me to train for my first marathon, I actually entertained the idea. Why? Because I knew if Clair could train and run far, I probably could too. And, I was right.

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Rock ‘n Roll Phoenix - 2009

Running long distances takes heart, commitment, time, balls and discipline. Yet, running long distances is not reserved for only the fittest and the fastest. Barring special medical conditions, it can be for all of us if we want it.

The bottom line is, when we see someone who we consider to be “like us” - be it a friend, spouse, sister, aunt,  etc. – and that person has the guts to do something and they are successful, we suddenly realize we’ve got those guts too. Because, if they can do it, we can surely do it. The question becomes, “Why not me?”

I’m not saying all people get inspired to do great things by other people, but I do think that we get inspired by seeing “average” Joes and Jolynn’s taking risks and reaching great heights. It makes us know we can too. I could sing “Wind Beneath My Wings” right now, but I won’t.

Who gave you the bug?

SUAR

54 comments:

  1. my first long distance race was inspired by the NEED to prove to ME that I could do it. in a world loaded full of you shouldn't, you can't, you dont deserve - i showed me - oh yes i CAN. I started running in July of 2009, first half was 11/2009 and first full 5/2010.

    i am not the fittest or the fastest - but after my first marathon - a man came up to my friends at the finish and told them that i was THE HAPPIEST on the course. who could possibly ask for more than that?

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  2. My first half marathon came logically from running like a fiend in order to lose an unhealthy amount of weight to be a coxswain. Since I could already run 17 miles, why not run in a race that was shorter than that absurd distance?

    My first marathon was a 'deal' I made with myself...I wanted to run a marathon before I turned 40. I was planning ahead...I ran it when I was 33 :)

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  3. My first marathon was because my friend had done several and she talked me into it! I had no idea I could do it! It was awesome!

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  4. My first half marathon...it came 50% from reading the yellow book Run like a Mother and the other 50%...came from saying that out loud to my dear husband "do you think I could run a half marathon?" and him saying "you?". that was it. I signed up that day for carlsbad. 8 half marathons later I am now thinking of going for the big one. I think about it every day actually. I dear friend who is a great runner (tall blond...lives in AZ..adicted to treamill maybe you know her) offered to do the whole thing with me. how can I say no to that.

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    1. YES, I do know that good friend of yours!!

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  5. My first half marathon was at the urging of my husband. My sister had died suddenly at the age of 41 and I had taken to longer runs to control my grief. As every long (in those days 6 - 7 miles) run kept getting longer, he asked why I didn't consider running a half marathon. I barely made through that first race because I kept breaking down thinking of my sister, but it sparked a fire that I have not been able to put out.

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  6. July 2011, lunch with my BFF who had started running in February 2011, was talking about all her running. I said to her, "I could never do that, I'm not a runner." To which she replied, "Yes you could, try it". I started the C25K program and ran my first 5K and 11 weeks later we did the Las Vegas RnR Half. I like to think I've "converted" a few that have told me "I'm not a runner". Running and racing has completely changed my life! My friend changed my life!

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  7. I'm not really a runner, but I would probably at "yet" to that. I've been building up to it over the winter so that the end of my tri's won't suck so bad. But now I'm actually considering a half. Why? One because a friend I sometimes run with wants to do one and at first I thought it sounded crazy, but now I'm thinking maybe it would be cool. Second? Shamefully - it would be for the bling. Third, a guy I know that has lost 100+ lbs (mostly in training for his first half) is doing his first marathon in May and I'm very inspired by it.

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  8. I ran my first race ever with Team in Training in 2004 at the San Diego RNR. I ran it because my sister in law had Hodgekins' Disease and I ran it for her. Such a great experience!

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  9. My friend Mary was training for her first marathon and talked me into the No Boundaries 10K program at our local Fleet Feet. I've since done a half marathon, am now a No Boundaries coach and will be training for my first marathon this year. Mary may have planted the seed, but there have been many inspirational friends since that have convinced me that I've got a marathon in me. That's what I get for hanging out with runners that think Ultras are cool. :)

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  10. The very first race I ever ran in my life was a marathon. That's right, no 5Ks or 10Ks to kind of build up a foundation like a sane and SENSIBLE person! My new neighbor was a die hard runner, but she'd never taken the plunge to do the full. I was not a runner AT ALL. When she said, "We should run a marathon", I seriously had no idea how far it was, but I DID know that only super heroes could run such a distance. We "trained" for a few months and very nearly died, but WE DID IT!!!!! I vowed that I would NEVER do that again, but I've since run nine more.

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    1. Hah!! I love that you didn't even know how far it was!! It's like childbirth, you say no more, then keep popping them out.

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  11. YEP...convinced by a co-worker that I could actually do a 7K (after never running in my life and being 42 I was up to the challenge) When we finished she said now you can train for the half marathon in Oct. (this being March) ....I jokingly said "Yea, I don't think so"

    Then, I asked another "older" Y guy known as Fast Eddie around here...he does the UltraMarathons and is about 78? He wins a lot nationally too for his age group...he told me to DO IT...and I DID! ;-) A great big thanks to great motivators!!

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  12. Here I am, right after the Belarus fasionista. Glad to know she's still around. She needs to scroll through my Bermuda photos. There is one there that will make her day. She will know it when she sees it.

    My first marathon was IMC 2010. The road there was interesting. My buddy Susi was training for IM a couple years before that. Working her ass off. (Steady on!) On the big day I was watching the internet feed, waiting for her to come in off the bike. And waiting. Then this chubby girl came into T2, wearing a distinctive top. A few minutes later she came bouncing out, with a huge, HUGE grin on her face as she headed out for a marathon. Yes, bouncing, this was a seriously chubby girl.

    My world rocked. She was way ahead of my buddy and I knew how hard she had worked and what good shape she was in. Yet she looked like she was having the time of her life. I had thought Ironmen were skinny athletic super athletes, and there were certainly no shortage of them on screen. Seeing that girl convinced me I could too.

    I started the whole darned thing, and completed IMC in 2010, even if the "run" was forever. The whole experience has grown on me. I've done a couple half marathons outside of triathlon, and I'd like to run a full marathon. I have no dreams of Boston, thank you very much.

    Later one, I was working with a guy that was huge. I was a big guy, and he was much bigger. He later told me that my weight loss and becoming more active inspired him to do the same. He lost huge weight, I don't know how much, certainly over 100 pounds. I nearly cried when he told me that. To know that someone was inspired by what I had done made my month.

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    1. Wow I didn't know your first marathon was at IMC. I can see why you inspired that guy - we never know who we might have an affect on, just by being ourselves and doing what we love.

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  13. I was inspired by a previous boss. She was "like me" in a lot of ways, and she started running, and ran her first half, and I decided, I can too! And now I'm training for my second, and my fiance is training for his first now :)

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  14. Jan 2010 I had just retired from years of public service and putting on 20lbs. I told a friend I had been walking back n forth to work (5 mi total) I told him I'd like to run, but at barely 4'11", a runner I am not. He told me "if you can walk it, you can run it" (a science teacher way of saying SUAR). I took the challenge, a yearvlater I was running 5 straight this year set out to actually run in some races. I hope to run my first half in one month and my A race will be the LBI 18 mile run in October. Unfortunately (or maybe forutantely?) there is no one around for me to run with. Aside from Chris' remark two years ago, I gather all my inspiration from the various running blogs, well only 2, yours & another mother runner. So, thanks!

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    1. I like that philosophy: If you can walk it, you can run it. Shut up and run it, right???

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  15. Well, usually it's my daughter who gives me the bug...all kinds of bugs.... ;)

    But Keith was my running bug. Have you seen his transformation????? My hubby and I have known him for years and years and years, but have NEVER seen him so thin, fit and SOOOOOOOOO happy as he was when he was training for triathlons and half-IMs a couple or so years ago. He is truly an inspiration for me. :)

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  16. Running friends are so persuasive, aren't they? After I ran Cherry Blossom 10-miler, a friend & coworker who was in my lunchtime running group told me: if you can run 10, you can run a half marathon; if you can run a half, you can run a full. That sounded crazy to me. So I signed up for Marine Corps and a first-time marathoners training program. Maryanne was my inspiration. (Her inspiration was that Oprah completed Marine Corps and said she'd never run a marathon again.)

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  17. I think marathon was on my bucket list, but one guy who was my Dailymile friend really pushed me to speed up. He'd always say things like, "Nice pace, you can probably take 30 sec off that for your race" and "Will your marathon be a BQ?" He kind of kept me going.

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  18. I was definitely inspired by others, mostly my husband, who has been a competitive runner for 25 years!

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  19. I have been inspired by so many of my running girlfriends. Each of them brought something unique to the table and I appreciate each and every one of them. I will be doing my first half this year and it will be with Team in Training. I am nervous and excited about the experience but everything I have heard and read has all be so great. Looking forward to it!

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  20. Too true! I started running because my stepmother ran a full marathon...I thought a half must be doable then. :)

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  21. I didn't "know" anyone that had run any long distances. I decided I wanted to be a runner. I started reading your blog and Run Faster Mommy. You and Heather inspired me. Not so much that I know I could do it because you did, more I want to be like you guys. You are so tough and impressive. I want to be that. I am doing my first half on April 29th! I completed 11 miles this last Saturday. While I could barely walk for a couple of days, it was totally worth it!!!

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  22. I kinda wanted to make a big change in my life and find something to help move my weight loss along. I also thought that running a half marathon was absurd for me - I had never even run for a minute when i on a "calculated" whim signed up for one.

    It was laughable. It was such a huge/unlikely goal that I have no idea what I was thinking. I didn't even remotely like running.

    However, I am so grateful for that stroke of insanity. it changed my life.

    I did get initially inspired by seeing FB pics of my friend who had just done surf city half. So I did get a virus. A computer virus.

    I have spread the disease to several friends who now run. :)

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  23. You are spot on~ I "ran" in college to avoid the frosh 15. I decided to train for a half because one of my good friends did it and I was at the point in my life where I needed a challange.
    I am planning to do a full as soon as my leg heals. I was apllning to do Colfax, but doc says no way. YOU inspired me to do the full!! :)

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  24. I started running with I was 13. My sister 3 years before that. My Dad the same time I did. So, in that I had a family encouraging me! My sister and Dad ran their first marathon around 1999 and I followed with my first in 2001. When it's a family affair you always have encouragement and love!

    I've completed 7 marathons, 15 half-marathons and 100's of 10 milers, 10K's and 5K's.

    It's so great to read about you and all these other people who love running too!

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  25. And I think it always has to do with drinking and a friend. That's how I entertained a half marathon. My friend and I were drinking and talking about how I could do it blah blah blah. That following Monday, I get the dreaded email that put me on this crazy path.

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    1. Yes, if I could tell you the number of crazy ass decisions I've made after a couple of drinks..

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  26. Running a half was on my bucket list but I never did anything about it... just kept wanting to. Then in Nov 2010 one of the gymnasts I coached was killed in a car crash. She wanted to run a marathon when she got older. She had run, and won, many local kid's events. In Feb 2011 her mom told me that a group was running the Marine Corps Historic Half (May 2011) in her honor so I signed up with my daughter. Turns out most of the group ran the 5K (we didn't get the change of plans memo). So she inspired me to take action. We just ran our 2nd Half this past Sunday. I think my husband is catching the bug.

    Honestly, I'm over hearing people say "I could never do that." It really means "I don't want to." When I see the people in the races all shapes and sizes, abilities and disabilities, I say to myself "If he/she can finish this thing then I certainly can." That's my self-talk for shut up and run. The running community in general is an inspirating and supportive group.

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    1. You are SO right. I could never do that really means I could never really want to do what it takes to make that happen.

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  27. This is it, exactly. My oldest son's best friend's mom is an Ironman Triathlete (she's on Team USA, I think?)(Ironically named Jo) and after being at a few get-togethers with her and her friends - nearly all of whom are serious athletes - it was hard to tell the difference between them and me just by looking. It was EASY to tell by listening, as all they talked about was training, though. I looked around at one party and thought, "Heck, they are NO DIFFERENT than me. They just work for it." And so I did my first 5K. And I'm looking for my first half. All because of an average "Jo".

    And with 4 kids, puke is inevitable. There has been puke in the car pool line. Puke in the bathtub. And, my favorite, puke on the cheerleaders at Disney World: http://longdazeshortyears.blogspot.com/2010/08/trip-from-hell-part-ii.html

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  28. It was actually the fact that they had a race at Disneyland that made me start running seriously, I ran here and there as part of my fitness routine before, but wanting to run Disney did it for me.

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  29. I used to be a "I Could Never" person, until a friend who is a runner convinced me that just maybe I could. And then I did. And it was fun! Holy cow!
    Now I'm trying to spread this bug like the stomach flu. ;)

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  30. I ran in college, but mostly just to get places and visit friends. I was never competitive. I tried running for fitness in the mid 90's to no avail {read; bad form, too fast and poor form, short-term activity}. In 2010, a friend told me to do a 5K with him. A short, unfit man not two years free of smoking, I figured that if he could do it, I certainly could. I nearly puked, but I did. And I have been running ever since!

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  31. I was nasty overweight. Had three kids and kept using them as an excuse to be heavy. My daughters guitar teacher use to run marathons for a spot on the podium. He biked, shaved his legs, whole nine yards. He told me to go and sign up at a gym and start running the next day and that it would change my life. I use to run cross country in college so I knew I had it in me. I took his words as a challenge. I haven't looked back.

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  32. Warning, this may be long: I was forced to run as a child. Woke up at 5am with pen lights (like the ones from Disneyland that were soooo cool in the 80's)with coyotes running across the road in front of us. We lived in Lake Arrowhead, CA and my parents were health "freaks". I hated it. I stopped as soon as I turned 18. We never did more than 3 miles at the time. My dad did longer runs alone.

    Fast forward to when I was 35 and somehow got it in my mind I would try to run a marathon. Then I got pregnant, LOL (what some people will do to get out of a race). I figured there was no way it would ever happen now, too old, too fat. My son was born disabled and I found myself getting more and more unfit and frankly fatter. The only convenient exercise turned out to be running but I petered out a lot. I had a fellow mom of a disabled child tell me, "buy the shoes and enter the race and you will stick to it". So I signed up for the Ogden Marathon 5K, trained and ran it. Then suddenly I wondered if I could do the marathon. It suddenly didn't seem impossible. Well on May 19th we'll find out if I have the chops; but I do know I've been working hard and I will finish even if I'm crawling on my knees to do it!

    I was feeling like not running today and whenever I feel that way I come to your blog. Thank YOU for kicking me in the ass by proxy!

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    1. Oh you will finish!! I'll be thinking of you on 5/19!

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  33. First time posting. My mother gave me the running "bug". She was diagnosed with breast cancer at the age of 40, had a radical mastectomy of the right breast and 6 months to the date of her surgery, she wrapped herself tightly in an Ace bandage and completed her first marathon. She went on to compete in several marathons but that photo finish of her in her singlet with the Ace bandage peeking out gets me everytime. And so I began running - often in honor of her - and always because of her. She still meets with her running group weekly, usually to walk then have a meal together. And I still run with that Ace bandage image in my mind, thankful that she beat cancer and ever so grateful for each and every day I have with her.

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    1. Beautiful story - I won't ever look at an Ace bandage the same way!!

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  34. Becky Said
    In 2005 my son joined his high school cross country team to stay in shape for Baseball. That November the team went to State in Cross Country for the first time in the schools history. I had such a blast cheering on the kids! I told my son in the heat of excitement I want to run a 5K! He held me to it, trained me to run and in November of 2006 I ran my first 5K. I was determined not to walk, because I couldn't say I RAN a 5K, my son ran right beside me cheering me on the whole way.. Since then I've run many many 5K's and also gave the bug to my hubby. I NEVER thought I would run a Half Marathon - I started running when I was 41. I trained for a half in 2008 and ended up in a cast, 4 months later I could run again. Then in 2010 I RAN my first Half - with my hubby at my side (it was his 2nd half marathon). Will I do a full marathon? Maybe when I'm 50, or maybe I'll try a sprint Triathalon, just need to learn to swim...

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  35. I, too, started running because of a mom with breast cancer. In some of her darkest days, she lived with me and my husband and our two kids. I remember vividly how a once vibrant, active woman was now having to physically be guided. I would walk and support her body from behind while she tried to hold her head up with her hands. She lost her battle about six months later. When I get tired and want to start walking( or sit on the curb) I just picture her struggling to complete the simple act of walking to the bathroom. Simply put, I run because she couldn't. I run my second half in April, at the Oklahoma Memorial Marathon.

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  36. Our Fire Department put on a Fun Run back in 2009 that a fellow member and I decided to TRY and run (cause firefighters should be fit). Neither one of us were runners and we just thought we'd run as much of the 2 miles as possible and walk when we needed to. Both overweight and out of shape we somehow made it to the finish, panting the whole way. Apparently we liked the exhaustion and started the Couch to 5K program shortly after. It really was awful and in the beginning we couldn't believe we had to run for a full 90 seconds. We thought for sure we'd die running an entire 5K. But now we are down 50+ pounds combined and run 5 days of the week. He's training for the Fargo Marathon and I'm training with him but for the Tough Mudder. We also plan on doing an Ultra in the near future! Dumb running!

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  37. I used to run a mile or two a couple of times a week-just to keep from being terribly out of shape. Then my friend decided that "we" should do a half marathon. I promptly told her she was nuts. After a couple of "beverages," I decided that we are some kind of crazy "she-rahs" (I am woman-hear me roar) and can do whatever crazy ass thing we put our minds to! We ran it at the end of February. I was kinda sick of running and thought I'd back off a bit. Tell that to my six miles yesterday-just because. :)

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  38. I have always wanted to do a marathon but the only one I've ever done was at the end of IMCOZ. My first half was at the end of a triathlon also. I'm not sure I could do a stand alone one. I was inspired by a dive master I know who did IMCOZ the year before I did and I thought that it would be impossible to do such a distance. I was toying with the idea of a marathon but I was too scared of the distance. For some reason, it was less scary at the end of a triathlon. So there you go. Still, one of these days I might do one stand alone, but for now they are too scary. I prefer to do them at the end of an IM instead. And I loved IMCOZ so much that I'm doing it again this year.

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  39. In 2009, a friend & I decided that we wanted to something challenging, something that was healthy and just for us. Our kids were the same age, 6 & 3, and we were ready to get active again. After much discussion we decided that we would start walking. Shoes were the only thing required and there are lots of trails where we live, plus we could take the kids with us. So we started walking. And then heard about the Inaugural Seattle Rock n Roll. We asked ourselves "Could we walk 13.1 miles?" So we walked and we walked and we walked. And in June we walked that 13.1 miles. Then we did it again in September, and threw in a little jogging. And we improved our finish times. Being naturally competitive, we decided that maybe we could try to run more of it and get even *better* times. So we did it again the next year. And the next. This June will be the 4th time we do the Seattle RnR (and my 5th 1/2). We've done various other races, some 5ks, some mud runs. We are now runners.

    I always swore I hated running, that I wasn't a runner and that I had bad knees. Well, now I'm 40 and running - my knees are fine. I've never felt as good, or as confident, or been as healthy. I'm planning two 1/2s so far this year and trying to figure out how to break the news to my husband that I want to try a full.

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  40. A high school friend going off to the Marines started me running. He asked if I would wake up and go for a run with him. It was prom weekend. We were all very "tired". I wanted to spend time with him, knowing he was going off to the Marines. I couldn't keep up with him and he started yelling at me, "Look at you, your 17yrs old and you can't even run 1 mlle." He was right, and thirty years later, I'm still running ...Thank you, Jimmy!

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  41. Love this post! I was working long and very miserable hours at a job that required me to travel 80% of the time. One of my co-workers convinced me to train for a triathlon with him as a way to get out of the office for a couple hours each day. A the same time, my roommate was training for her first marathon. It was definitely an "if she can do it, so can I" moment combined with a lot of insanity. I told myself I wanted to complete a triathlon and marathon before I turned 30. I did (by 29, actually) and went on to run a number of other marathons, half marathons and other random distances (though I never went back to the triathlon - hated the swimming).

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  42. I know that you have inspired me to fart in public more often than ever before. Drop a small one here, a large one there.....see who notices, see who to blame it on. It is a fun game.

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  43. I think you are the only person who can talk about stomach flu and tie it into running...and motivate the hell out of me.

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  44. My Dad was a long distance and ultra runner so I grew up with the phrases 'carb loading' and 'got to go long Sunday' as part of the family vocab. Didn't everyone have these conversations as the dinner table?? lol
    It took till my 30's to finally get the excitement of running and fall in love with it and never looked back.
    My only regret... my Dad never saw it.

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