Hey everyone!!! My friend and fellow blogger, Kate, graciously agreed to be a guest blogger for you all while me and my man are busy having a blast and getting ready for Walt Disney World Marathon weekend! I’ve “known” Kate for quite some time now and she has quite the incredible journey to tell and she has overcome some great obstacles to accomplish some pretty hefty achievements. In fact, you can now call her an official IRONMAN!
Thanks for sharing with us, Kate! You can check out more of her blog here: For Slow Kids Everywhere.
It’s really hard to figure out how to write a one-time blog for people who nothing about you. I’ve been thinking and thinking and thinking, how do I write something meaningful and give people a picture of ME, and be inspiring, in one nutshell?
I’ll start with a story. This will tell you everything you need to know about me, as an athlete, at least.
I was in second or third grade. It was field day. Did everyone have field day? Did everyone love field day? Yeah, not me. I loved being outside and making dandelion chains all day, but ugh, they made me enter the EVENTS. They made me humiliate myself. Softball throw (I especially remember that one because I wound up like a cartoon character, only to pretty much drop the ball right in front of me and burst into tears), relays, and all the running, running, running. I waS no good at anything. I was small for my age and the youngest one in the class to boot. I was the nerd with straight A’s who nobody wanted on their kickball team.
That particular day, they threw in a new event at the end of the day: a race for everyone in each grade who had not gotten a ribbon. No first, second, third place in anything. I should mention this was a small school: 20-30 people in each grade, and there was a full days’ worth of events. There were very few of us left in that category. When they blew the whistle, I ran my little heart out. At the finish, I was presented with a generic yellow ribbon. Third place! On the back were lines: awarded to:___ for:_____, and I proudly filled them in with a pencil when we got back to the classroom.
When I got home, I presented my souvenir to my mom. Her face screwed up into the face of disbelief: slight sneer, one eyebrow raised, eyes a bit clouded over (I know this, I inherited that same face).
“RUNNING???” You got this for RUNNING???
So begins my identity as a non-runner. My mom didn’t traumatize me or anything. I already knew it. I was not an athlete, and especially not a runner. Running was hard and not fun and everyone was faster than I was. I dabbled in sports in high school and got cut from every team, except the basketball team. The basketball team didn’t have enough people to cut, but I still only played if my team was far far ahead or far far behind and I couldn’t do anything to have an impact either way.
I don’t actually have one of those “non-athlete to super-athlete” stories. I’ve always tried to be active. I’ve always NEEDED to be active; I’m a ball of nervous energy. I dabbled in some offbeat sports and had better luck there – flag football, karate, roller derby. Four years ago, I found myself in grad school, broke as a joke, a hair overweight, and needing to do something to burn off stress. I couldn’t afford a team, class, or gym membership. I could afford a pair of running shoes. I sucked it up….I ran, one minute at a time, then two, then three, and somewhere, I got hooked.
I didn’t get hooked on the running for a while, but as it turns out, running tapped into my straight-A, OCD persona. I could track my accomplishments. That’s what kept pulling me in. I remember the day I ran two whole miles without stopping. I collapsed inside my apartment, dragged myself to my computer, and emailed my mom. TWO MILES. And three. One day I did a 5k. One day I ran for an HOUR straight – a whopping 4.5 miles! (I have short legs – yes, it was an actual RUN!)
Running became a game of “If I can do that, what else can I do?” As it turns out, I, the non-runner with my unbelievable yellow ribbon, could do a 10k. And a half marathon. I could lose 35 pounds and go from a size 12 to a size 6, and get married in the wedding dress that I had to order a size too small so I could have it on time.
5 months, 25ish pounds, and my first 10k between these two photos
When I got injured while running, I discovered I could bike and swim. So I started doing triathlons, too. Then I ran a FULL MARATHON.
I even smiled while I did it! Air Force Marathon 2011
What next? The ultimate in impossible for a non-athlete: My mom, who has now been converted to thinking I really do have some athletic ability, got to track me online for 16 hours and 28 minutes while I tackled a full ironman course. And I made it.
Why do I run? Well, somewhere in there I did learn to enjoy it. Somewhere in there, my body flipped running from punishment and hard work, into something it does naturally. I run because it’s become the outlet I need for stress and self-doubt. But the biggest change of all: I run because it’s changed the definition of possible in my world. Every new event or distance I’ve tackled has been something that I, at one point, thought I could never do. I went out and proved myself wrong. My whole outlook on life has changed. Now, if I want something, I don’t play it safe. I’ve learned that “safe” and “impossible” are just arbitrary labels my mind dreams up.
So does yours. If the dandelion chain girl can become an Ironman, what’s holding you back?
Yes. This did happen!