In November of 2013, I tried another gym that required treadmill work as part of the class. I found that I was able to run on the treadmill without hurting my back. Each class had me finding my groove and running faster and farther. It was amazing to be able to run again.
I participated in my first group run at the Delray Beach Running Company in March of this year. I set out to run 3 miles, slowly, with frequent walking intervals. We left the store at 6:00am on a Saturday and I ran east on Atlantic Ave., over the intracoastal, and headed south on A1A. When I hit Casuarina, I turned around and headed back. I have lived in South Florida my entire life and had always wanted to be an early bird, to see the beach before the rest of the world woke up, to enjoy Atlantic Ave. before the town woke up. Like being a part of a really big secret, my Saturday morning felt purposeful.
It took me weeks to finally run far enough to find the Running Company’s aid station. A few more weeks to hit the 5 mile mark. When I hit the Highland Beach sign (6 miles) with Christine and our other running buddy, Erika, we stopped to take a photo. It was momentous…we’d hit another city.
Since that first group run at DBRC, I have been a regular. I rarely miss a Saturday run; I’m up to 9 miles. I also run on Tuesday mornings (3-4 miles) and Thursday nights (4-6 miles). My husband and two sons (ages 9 and 12) join in for the Thursday night and Saturday morning runs. They also love the camaraderie and refreshments.
The support I receive from Annie and Meagan and the rest of the staff has enabled me to become my best me. The work that they do to build friendships, teammates, and athletes has benefited me more than I could have ever imagined. I whole heartedly believe that my back has been in good shape for running because of the advice I receive about shoes.
With each step forward, regardless of how badly my feet may be hurting that day, I feel better. As the miles progress, my head clears. With each run, I am surprised at how much better I feel about myself as I go. It’s as if this concept of a “runner’s high” is freshly discovered several times a week.
I am a runner.
I compare blisters and chafing with my friends (and sometimes strangers) at the store. I can talk pacing, intervals, nutrition, hydration, and even digestion with the best of them.
A few weeks ago, Christine and I went to cheer on Erika as she completed her first half marathon. That night, five of us agreed to run the Ft. Lauderdale A1A Half Marathon in February. We are a community. We are runners.
I was asleep as the super moon and lunar eclipse awed night enthusiasts around the world, because Saturday morning runs start at 6:00am and I have to get 8 hours of sleep. I may have missed seeing the night sky, but I experienced the super moon and lunar eclipse at dusk, with my foot submerged in an oceanfront lawn … as a runner!