By: Kris Berry
As I shared with you previously, I love to run. It’s my little selfish outlet, time for myself to do something alone (or with a friend to chat with), it’s time to do something just for me. It’s something I need in my life. As my husband says, it keeps me sane. My family knows when I need to run and, if I’m cranky, my kids will hand me my sneakers and tell me to go for a run.
As I already admitted, running has become a bit of an addiction for me. It began innocently enough as a way to exercise. then I started running road races and realized how much I loved the excitement and the adrenaline rush that I got running in them. A 10k turned into a ½ marathon. Then that led to several more ½ marathons and the itchy little thought in the back of my head that maybe I could run a full marathon. It’s something I have had on my “bucket list” for a while now, even before I started doing races. So this year I signed up (and talked my poor sister-in-law into doing it with me).
About two months ago, I wasn’t sure I was actually going to get to the starting line. Because of my training, I developed bursitis in my hip and tendinitis in my knee. These conditions made it painful and very difficult for me to run. I had to take an entire week off of running and then take it very slow and reduce my mileage for the rest of the training program. This meant that I had to cut down two of my longest runs. Sure, I wasn’t going for a Boston Qualifying time, but I had told myself that I was going to complete a marathon and I was disappointed that I was having set backs. I went from trying to calculate what a “respectful finishing time” for me would be to just resolving to finish the thing. Then, three days before the marathon I woke up with a cold that made me winded just walking up stairs. I felt like cards were being stacked up against me. A lot of people will tell you just getting to the starting line is the most important part of a training plan, it is totally true.
On October 16th I got in the starting line at the Baystate Marathon. I told myself to really try to enjoy the run, take it all in, and realize what was happening every second of the way. And as crazy as it sounds, I really did enjoy it, as much as a person can enjoy running 26.2 miles that is. There were moments when I struggled, but I ran the entire thing, which was something I was totally not expecting, and I finished well within my goal time. When I saw the 26 mile marker I burst into tears. Of course, with a stuffy nose that only made things worse so I tried to hold back my emotions until I finished. Then I rounded the corner to finish and saw my kids and my husband ringing their cow bells and cheering. I blew them a kiss and crossed the finish line. To say I was elated was a complete understatement. I can’t articulate the feeling but, other than having my three children, nothing I have done in my life has made me prouder.
If I got anything out of this experience it is to not be afraid to try something outside of your comfort zone every once in a while. Running a marathon isn’t something I would have ever thought was in the realm of possibilities for me. But with the support of my family, and some pretty long training runs, I did it. And for a not-so-fast runner, I kinda rocked it! Will I run another marathon? You betcha. Just not for another few years (so I can forget about those 3+ hour training runs and my sore legs).