Why We Run Wednesday: Sarah H

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My parents first met on a track. My mom was running 200 intervals, and my dad had just come back from a long run. With as much swagger as he could muster, he asked her if he could join in on her workout. I think he thought that’s what flirting was. She agreed, begrudgingly.

26 seconds later she waited as he crossed the finish line. If she had hoped this would deter him from asking her out, it didn’t.

Each parent loves the story, but they tell it slightly differently.

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My mom says that when she was in labor with me – all 37 hours of it – the nurses were amazed at how strong my heartbeat was. According to her, her first thought was that would make me a strong runner.

And so with running, I don’t really know how to begin my story without first beginning with my parents’ love of the sport. It was something I inherited from them, a birthright of sorts. And probably because of this, it took me a long time to understand for myself why exactly I ran.

I hated running in college. I quit after my sophomore year of cross-country training, discouraged, demoralized, and way too skinny. I walked away with the ghost of the sport sitting on my shoulder. An angel or a devil, depending on how you looked at it of course, of what could have been but never was.

Coaching coaxed me back into the sport. Through the athletes I was lucky enough to work with I learned a love of it, an acknowledgment that failure and success are both temporary states, and a love of the process that surprisingly I hadn’t before taken to heart through my own experiences. And I started, slowly, to run again.

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Don’t ask me why I signed up for the marathon. I was supposed to be planning a wedding – I’m not the wedding planning type – and don’t worry, we happily eloped. But instead I decided to train for a marathon. I’ll let you think about that symbolism for a minute.

Anyway I know myself and I knew there was no way in hell I would put in the training without a support network. A coach friend connected me to Regina, and after one run with CRC; I knew I had found a good place. I officially signed up for the club that day.

What I found with the club was what I had not known I had been looking for throughout the previous 16 years I had been running. I found friends and coaches that took their running seriously, but not themselves overly so. I found support and camaraderie. A sort of prosaic, hard-working philosophy that can be applied to life, I think, from what I’ve experienced of it, with great success. When I run now, I feel free. I’m not running from anything, or to anything. I’m just running. And that in itself is a perfect kind of bliss.

Katie Tougas4 Comments