The Day I Became a Runner

I used to hate running. Like nothing could get me to go for a run. Ever. We’d have to run for tennis camp, and I wanted to die. No one ever really explained why we had to run…that it was good for conditioning and endurance…not that it would have mattered, though. I still would have hated it.

Even when I started dipping my feet into triathlon, I was much more interested in swimming laps than running. The Run discipline of triathlon was my weakest of the three sports. I got passed my speed walkers in my first Danskin Women’s Triathlon. Even that didn’t really humiliate me enough to run much.

Until I became a mom. I was carrying baby weight, and I had no idea what to do with this child who suddenly became my whole world. And then I became a single mom, so all of a sudden I was mostly on my own. I didn’t know what to do.

As I navigated this new space, I also had to learn to share…share this new child and send him to his dad’s house every few days. It was scary and lonely, and in spite of having dozens of hobbies and chores, I couldn’t come up with anything to do with myself.

Until one morning, my son was about 9 months old and staying with his dad, I got up and decided to go running. This is the first time in my life I wanted such a thing. I craved it! If you had told me during Tennis Camp this would happen I would have puked on the service line.

That day, with cruddy old gear, I ran up and down hills, not caring about speed or pace or heart rate. I felt free. I felt like I had unlocked a secret I’d been looking for my whole life. The secret to inner peace was right there. My lungs were exploding with each breath. My legs were like horses let out of the barn. My head was suddenly clear.

This was now a thing for me. I didn’t know it at the time. I didn’t know that that day in October 2008 I would look back and say definitively that I became a runner in that moment.

Since then, when things are bad and my heart hurts and my brain is overloaded and I’m overwhelmed with all of the adulting, I go running.

I go running to heal. I go running to think. I go running to breathe. I go running to celebrate that I CAN.

Since that day, I started believing in myself instead of what others said about me. I wanted more. I wanted to work harder, and I still do. It was only the first step of many miles on this journey. The day my life changed…the Day I Became a Runner

So I go running. And I’ll run forever. Thank you, Lord for these legs, these lungs, and this love.

Heather Jergensen

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