asked if I’d join the Hood-to-Coast team my employer was sponsoring. What
Nicole was really asking me to do was begin my love-hate relationship with
running, but at the time, all I heard was “196 miles.” Uh, no. No. Not even
gonna consider it, because I CAN’T RUN.
hated Wednesday. It was a cross country mile, not on a track, and we had to run
that sucker rain or shine. My lungs would burn, my legs would ache. By the end
of the year I could run that stupid mile in 9:30. I can’t remember how slow I
had been to start, but I’m guessing it was in the 13-14 minute range. But I do
remember that 9 minutes and 30 seconds. I was never going to be one of the
fastest runners in the sixth grade, but I was pretty darn proud of that 9:30.
family, participating in high school sports like soccer, gymnastics, and track.
When I was in elementary school, we went to a private gym for gymnastics, and
the instructor was so frustrated with my sheer inability to get my chunky butt
onto the uneven bars, that she suggested my mom find me another sport. I played
city league softball, with absolute mediocrity. Sports wasn’t my thing. I was
much happier with my nose in a book.
|The Hood to Coast route: 196 miles|
Not that I didn’t try. I can remember when I was 22 or 23, deciding
that I should try running. I put on my tennis shoes and went out to the street,
ready to jog a couple of miles. I think I managed about two blocks before my
lungs started to burn and I could actually taste blood in my mouth. No, dear
co-workers, I am not a runner. Never gonna be a runner. Hood-to-Coast is not
the shortest legs of the race, and assured me they’d help me get ready. So I
agreed to become one of the twelve runners on a 196 mile relay race from the
top of Mount Hood to the sandy beaches of Astoria, Oregon. My husband assured
me that I was going to kill myself in the process.
Now, this was back in the days before google and
blogging, so I really had no idea where to start. So I started with some
shopping, of course. New shoes, new socks, some running tights, and a gym
membership, and I was ready to begin. I started out running (and when I say “running,”
picture “trotting”) on the treadmill. I did the run/walk thing until I could
run a mile non-stop. Then slowly worked my way up to running 3.1 miles, or 5
kilometers, because Nicole had convinced me to register for a St. Patrick’s Day
5K race through downtown Portland. I don’t even remember my time from that
race, but I’m pretty sure it was more than 40 minutes. My only consolation was
that I was not the last person to finish the race. But only barely. Running on
the road was a lot harder than running on a treadmill. Running that road race
was a great experience and learning opportunity. Still, I did not fully comprehend
what I was getting myself into. (to be continued)
Click HERE for So, You Wanna Be A Runner, Huh? (part 2)