I just felt like running.

I’d like to take a break from talking about baking for a post, and instead focus on my second favorite thing to do: running.

Today I ran my 4th “official” race. It was a 5 mile run, at the Philadelphia Art Museum. It was cold. But man, it was worth it. It’s always worth it. There’s nothing quite like the energy of a race, particularly a big one. Hundreds of people, just waiting to start running, all doing it for their own personal reasons – health, a cause, an escape – and all at their own pace. The air is electric at a race – regardless of your personal reasons, the goal is the same: to cross the finish line. We’re all connected by our desire to finish. Yes, it can be competitive – but it’s never angry or hostile. In fact, it’s quite the opposite. Everyone wants to see everyone else finish. We’re all in this together – a large mass of continuous movement, floating through the atmosphere to our destination. Everyone is smiling at each other, everyone respects each other. It’s a beautiful thing, and if you haven’t ever participated in a race, I highly recommend it.

from a 5k last fall. I won my age group!!

But what I’ve really been thinking a lot about lately, is how I got here. Four years ago (the summer of 2008), I started to get more into running. I ran a couple miles a day, and realized I actually liked it. 10 years ago, I was very into fitness, but really only running a mile at the gym to warm up for the rest of my workout. 18 years ago, we had to run the mile in 11th grade gym class, and I cheated. I cheated running 1 mile. That’s right folks, I was a lazy teenager. Thanks to the good genes of my slender parents, I remained relatively so as well, but I was by no means in good shape. We had to run 4 times around the football field to complete the mile. I had this grand scheme that I shared with my friend: “hey, if I run slow enough, I can let the faster runners catch up to me on my third loop, and it will look like I ran all 4.” It worked. Shame on me.

a welcome sign at 17 years old.

Flash forward to last weekend. I went out for a Saturday afternoon run, and 1 hour and 38 minutes later, I had run 9 miles. Not only had I run 9 miles, but I felt GREAT. Honestly, I felt like I was walking. I  had to check about 5 miles in to make sure I was actually still running because it felt so…natural.

it all starts with a dream and a desire.

Now, I will never be the fastest runner; that’s OK. I may never run a full marathon; that’s OK too. (I am running my first half next month though – so stoked!). The point is that a person who cheated running 1 mile is fully capable of running 9. You can always change yourself, you just have to want to. A very wise man once said, “There’s still time to change the road you’re on.”  So put on your sneakers, and do it. 🙂

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