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The Story of my Feet

November 28, 2012

I was not born to be a runner. I am not tall, I am not lean and I am not very fast. People consider me short and I dare say that my legs would agree. Sometimes I’m surprised when I realize that most people tower over me when in my mind, we were pretty close to the same height. Maybe my personality makes me feel a little larger than life, and I am cool with that.

I didn’t participate in anything as a kid. I never was a Girl Scout. I tried Brownies for about 2 seconds but after a dumb nature hike where the guide (a mom of one of the kids) told us to keep a look out for Indians I refused to go back. (Even at the tender age of 7 I wasn’t an idiot. I knew there were no Native Americans hiding in the woods behind her house in DOWNRIVER Detroit. Seriously.) I never danced, tried gymnastics or played soccer. In middle school I made the cheerleading team for the Brownstown Knights (I think?) and the Fenton Tigers after we moved an hour north. The only reason that I made either squad was because A) my socialized friends taught me cheers every day during recess during 5th and 6th grade B) my friends taught me gymnastics and C) I weighed about 90 lbs so I was tiny and could jump like a flippin’ grasshopper. But despite my moderate success as a teen cheerleader, I didn’t consider myself athletic.

But then all my friends joined the track team in the spring of 1996. And like any good follower, I wanted to be with them so I begged my mom to let me join up too. Track was a social event for me and I wasn’t very good at sprints so I spent most of the time flirting with older boys and cheering on my friends. But then one day my coach needed to find a freshman to run a relay that consisted of a 400m, 800m, 400m and 800m and she tapped me to run an 800m (half mile for those of you who could care less about the metric system). And shockingly, I was GOOD. Not going-to-states-as-a-freshman-good as my teammate Dru, but good enough to be part of the 3200m relay team for four years and place consistently in the 800m and 1600m run.  And then I joined cross country for three seasons, where it turns out, I was pretty good at that too. Even with feet covered in blisters, callouses and moleskin, I felt like a bad ass. I won’t lie. There is something powerful in being able to run a 6 minute mile or in our case, a few just over 7 minute miles.

But then I went to college and didn’t run for a while. I didn’t run a single 5k. I got married. I had a baby and I started to run again. I would wait at the door with my shoes laced and as soon as my husband pulled into the driveway, I would yell “Baby’s in the swing!” and literally run out the door. It was my 30 minute break from my life as a young mother. Motherhood is amazing but it is also isolating, repetitive and boring at time. Running gave me a chance to think without a small person interrupting, it forced me to use muscles that had become lazy and it gave me back a small part of the person that I had been in high school. A mother version of  a bad ass. But then I had another baby, and another a few years later and running never disappeared but it wasn’t the naughty mistress that I had remembered her as. Running after my third child was experimental. Five weeks after my c-section, I attempted to jog two miles. And I did it in 22 minutes. It was brutal and I struggled to breathe for every second of those 22 minutes but I did it.

And then I signed up for a half marathon that would be five months after her birth. I ran it. I haven’t stopped since. I’ve ran four more half marathons, more 5ks that I remember and in 10 days, I will attempt to complete my first full marathon. As much as I thought I was a bad ass as a speedy little high schooler, the thought of completing 26 mother loving miles will make me even more bad ass-ier. I have had three kids, all by c-section. My body has been able to create three beautiful, wild and hilarious little humans and it has ran hundreds of miles. My feet are ugly. The second toe’s nail on my right foot turned purple after my last half marathon a couple weeks ago. I don’t get pedicures anymore. But I run because it pushes me to harder, better, faster, stronger, to quote Kanye West. And to make me feel a little bit like a bad ass.


My friend Kara and I right before a race during our junior year–I’m dating this by my amazing thick bangs and her awesome scrunchy.

One Comment leave one →
  1. Tracy Abney permalink
    December 3, 2012 12:35 am

    You are amazing! Just amazing!

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