My Running Journey

I embarked on this journey of running about a year ago when my friend Janeen lived close by. We used to meet up the road at a local park and run a few miles; at the time I was so new to it that I used to think to myself “I can’t believe people do this for fun.” Nonetheless when we were done, the runners high would hit and I would feel great. At the time we didn’t really have any goals; until I texted her one late night and told her to sign up for the Great Pumpkin Run 5K. We had time to train, but nothing could have ever prepared us for that day; honestly speaking we had no clue what was coming our way.

The terrain was awful; we were running up hills that were terribly steep…rocks that were the size of my foot even larger…and the worst was running sideways on uneven ground; we were not prepared. Not one tiny bit.

But we survived. Later that day I remember going home and taking the hottest shower known to man-kind and dying. So, a few weeks later I signed Sophia, Whiskey and myself up for the annual Turkey Trot in Pittsburgh on Thanksgiving. That has been my last 5k. I had every intention of doing the Susan G Komen run this May; but it unfortunately it has been rescheduled for September (fingers crossed).

Janeen has since moved to the other side of Pittsburgh and I have not seen her since the Great Pumpkin Run back in October 2019; and I stopped running basically right after the Turkey Trot and picked it back up slowly a few weeks after my surgery in February 2020.

Since then I have gained another running partner Whiskey. We got her last summer; and every day we are running. Whiskey is a blue healer so she is used to running an average 18 miles a day; we are not doing that in fact we will never do that. She and I run about four to five days a week with at least 3 miles to our highest peak from the other day of 5.5 miles; it’s not easy once we hit over 4 miles…but it sure helps with all the pent up energy she and I have.

Since the pandemic has hit Pittsburgh hard, I have been running even harder; almost daily. I am finding it to be such a stress reliever, plus it feels amazing to get out of the house. Back in March when I was laid off of work; I really started to hit the miles and there was absolutely no one out. I felt alone in the world, not a single soul out. The same trash laid on the streets for weeks, the same disposable glove laid next to the garbage can…the same car parked in their driveways..and occasionally you would see someone peek out their windows.

But I kept running; my music playing, and once I took the ear buds out there was complete silence. It was sometimes the most eerie feeling in the world.

A couple weeks back Whiskey and I were running and my first neighbor asked me “how many rounds have you done?” I remember being out of breath…and I replied “huh?” she repeated “how many rounds have you done? I see you everyday…I think you are on four.” I remember being quite stunned because when you are alone outside, you don’t think anyone notices…but they do.

Occasionally I will see her and she later told me that the most she has ever counted me running past her house was six times. Honestly speaking I can’t keep track most days, it sort of becomes a blur after a while.

As the weeks past I am seeing more and more people adventuring out; which I really love.

One day on my run, I had this guy walking to his mailbox if I was in the military, because I have been out here in rain or shine. It was a bet between him and his wife. I think it’s my hat…(not really my hat).

Another neighbor said that “I have inspired her to join Jenny Craig, and start walking with her dog.” And she does! I see her occasionally with her pooch; we wave as we walk past each other. Her name is Jess by the way.

My most recent occurrence was a elderly couple that asked me as I walked past…cooling down how many miles have I done; looking at my watch I replied “we are at 4.5 going for 5….” they said “good…five is a good number that’s how many kids we have…we have been watching for you for weeks.”

It has been quite the adventure. Now I never know who I am going to run into…and what they are going to say.

I have to admit; I have no running goals it’s just something I found I enjoy doing. There are some days that I hate going out, especially when it’s cold, but then there are days I am ready to go by 8am. I think they worst part about running are some of “hells hills,” I will run up, like I have been running them all my life; then there are days that I can’t make it up the hill. I am out of breath..sweaty….swearing under my breath and definitely think once again “I can’t believe people do this for fun.” But here we are.

Just last week I took off 4 days; I ran Wednesday morning, and I didn’t go back out until Sunday; and quit honestly it was a nice switch, I think my body was saying thank you!

Surprisingly I get a lot of people that ask what kind of results have I noticed; and I will openly admit, that the results are taking a lot longer to show then maybe when I was in my twenties. I have noticed my legs are more defined; I might become a professional coconut cracker with these suckers; but my stomach is more defined than it has been in years. In my early twenties you could probably eat dinner off my stomach it was that flat; but I am not in my early twenties…I’ve been pregnant twice…and lets just say I love my carbs. Do I expect to have the worlds flattest stomach…no, I am realistic. For goodness sakes I have a food blog; I play with cookie dough and I love to feed people…if that doesn’t scream foodie than nothing will.

I am me, and for the first time in my life I am completely fine with that. I don’t expect perfection from myself, my daughter, my friends or family.

But I will not stop running…I will turn my old leggings into running gear…slip on a baseball cap…and hit the cement; especially on those muggy summer nights; that’s my favorite time to go.

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