What Running Has Taught Me

Running shoesThis morning I completed the Run with the Duck 5K. The rain pelted down on shivering runners, who were surprisingly unprepared for the wet weather. (It’s Oregon… It’s not like Oregonians are new to rain.)

The packet pickup line stretched far enough that the race began about 15 minutes late. Boyfriend, coffee in hand and decked out in Carhartts and Danners, stood like a champ by my side while the people behind us whined about the race being a bad life decision. Three minutes into the race, my bluetooth headphones died. From the get-go, the race was a bit rough, but it was special in its own right.

Today’s 5K was special for me because this was the first race I ran – two years ago.

Two years ago, Sister and I ran the Run with the Duck on a frigidly cold, dry November morning. At that time, it was at Hayward Field on the University of Oregon campus. Sister – an Oregon State Beaver fan – sported an accommodating face, had her picture taken with the UO Duck, and joined me and other runners at the starting line. It was a big day for both of us. Unprepared, we ran (OK, OK – jogged/walked) our first 5K.

It was a while before I signed up for another one. In fact, the Summer Solstice Dash and Bash was the next one I ran, this past June. Then, a couple of weeks ago, there was the Dirty Duck 5K. Followed by today’s race. A few weeks from now is the Oregon’s Ugliest Sweater Run. Next June is the Bubble Run. In between? Well, who knows. It remains to be seen.

These events have become really important to me, and each race I run, I learn something new about myself:

  • I’m in better shape than I give myself credit for.
  • I prefer trail running.
  • Running in the rain is very refreshing.
  • Zipping past people near the finish line is incredibly satisfying.
  • I need to charge my bluetooth headphones before the race.
  • Running without music throws off my groove.
  • The competitive environment motivates me to run.
  • Running really is more fun than I thought it could be.

Once upon a time, the motto in my family was: “I only run if someone is chasing me with a sharp object.” Now, as an adult, this is still true for several of my family members. For me, it’s an amusing memory of who I used to be. I’m still not an avid runner who is aiming for half-marathons or crazy courses. But I do appreciate what running has to teach me about myself, and what it offers for me as I continue to persevere on my fitness journey. I’m excited about what I have yet to learn from future races.

So, until the next race in December, my goal is to hit local trails with my puppy, Bella. Without a doubt, that will be a tremendous, wonderful learning experience.

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