Why We Run Wednesday: Summer

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Why do you run?

I been asked this so many times and still don't have a concise answer.

I began running away from my grief.  My older brother died in October of 2011.  At the time, I was overweight and sedentary.  My brother was my best friend and fierce encourager.  After the initial loss I felt compelled to do something, anything with my pain and frustration. 

I found a gym.  I bought size 18 yoga pants and tennis shoes.  I showed up.  At 250 pounds and asthmatic, everything was hard, everything felt impossible.  I got a trainer.  He encouraged me to try signing up for a Biggest Loser style 3-month competition that included boot camp classes, personal training, meal planning and an opportunity to win money based on the percentage of weight lost.  I made friends at that gym, I found the structure I needed to keep my mind off my debilitating sadness and I found a spark of life.  During our boot camp classes we always had a component that involved running.  I dreaded these moments.  I could lift heavy things, I could push my body to exhaustion but running was impossible.  Everything ached as I put one foot in front of the other.  On the treadmill one day a trainer came up behind me teasingly saying that I ran like a fat girl!  So, I did what I do when things are hard - I face it. 

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I went to Run 26 in Mill Creek to buy a pair of real running shoes with the thought that real running shoes would fix my problem.  There, I met Shelby the owner.  After fitting me for a pair of shoes he told me about a new run club he was starting in a few months.  I wrote that start date on a post-it, put it on the front of my fridge and assumed I would never actually attend.

I put on those new shoes a few days later and went for a run, it was horrible!  My legs hurt, lungs burnt, my side ached and I put the shoes back in the box.  I am a fat girl, what did I think I was doing trying to run?

A week later, I hadn't returned the shoes and saw the Cascade Run Club start date staring back at me.  I decided to give it a shot.  I arrived to our first practice completely petrified and met a group of runners, we introduced ourselves and shared our running goals.  Everyone had so much time in the sport.  I had never even run a mile before.  These people were serious runners and had serious goals.  The first few weeks were riddled with self-doubt and the practices took every ounce of determination in my body.  The coaches taught me the run-walk method and encouraged me to keep coming back.  I kept showing up to practices because their enthusiasm was infectious.  We ran circles around St. Edwards Park and while they were passing me someone was always hollering out to me, "Great job Summer!"  To date, this is still why I am member of CRC.  The unwavering support, the friendships and encouragement.  I am not a fast runner but I am strong because these people push me to do what I doubt possible. 

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My first year of running I set a goal to run one 5k per month, for each month of the year.  By May I knew I wanted to push myself.  The coaches and team mates were present when I ran my first half marathon in October, they ran along side me.  They shared tears with me as I crossed the finish line. 

When I have a stressful day at work, I run.  When I have a exciting life event occur, I run.  On holidays, I run.  When I show up to a CRC practice I know I may not run next to my team mates because I still run slower than some of them but because we run for time, not miles, I know I am going to start and end each run with my friends. 

Since then, I have ran eighteen 5k's, seven 10k's, five 12k's, seven 15k's, seven half-marathons and in May of 2017 I ran my first full marathon. 

 

Guess who was at the finish line?

My family, Cascade Run Club.

These people are why I run.

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Katie Tougas5 Comments