I wish I could say that I was born a zoomy runner. But my story's a bit more complex that that.
Growing up, my family was not so active. On the one hand, my mom had been a hardcore skier back in her college/grad school days, and my dad had been an avid bicyclist (biking to school and work way back in the 1940s (!!) and '50s and '60s). We occasionally went for (short) family hikes and once did a canoeing and cabin-camping trip in a south Georgia swamp with alligators all around us. I was enrolled in ballet classes until I was deemed to be too inflexible. On the other hand, I never played team sports; no kiddo soccer or t-ball or basketball for me. I was afraid of the ball. And falling. And scars. At one point in middle school, I played a little tennis but stunk at it.
But by 8th grade, I somehow decided I'd be a runner. I ran 8th grade track- the longer distances of 800 and mile, I think. Then I joined the high school cross country team. We ran on Cherokee Boulevard, did speed workouts around the soccer and baseball fields, got lost on the hilly 5 route, and I learned how to 'kick'(but not too much) at the very end of a race. My freshman year, I vacillated between the varsity (top 7 girl runners) and JV teams. I ran in the JV district championships in the pouring rain. The path was muddy; I loved it.
I also ran high school track- mainly to please the cross country coach and stay in shape. I thought the 4X800 relay was fun. But, honestly, running more one event at a meet kinda threw me off :O There was a big, fun 10K race in Knoxville (the Expo 10K) on the same day as an important track meet. I chose to do both. So I woke up early to race the 6.2 miles and then hustled over to a random high school track to run my events. I extend my apologies to my teammates.
By senior year, running cross country was a big part of who I was. The team's traditions and camaraderie were my home. I loved making up nicknames for teammates, singing songs to get pumped up before races, and team campouts. I loved the long runs, including the Big Ed's run, which involved running about 18 miles (part of the route was the shoulder of a very busy highway) from our school to another city that had an awesome pizza joint...After that run, we ate a lot of pizza :P
In college, I was an on-and-off runner. I had several terrific running routes around Providence. One gentleman friend (a college ex) told me I'd gained weight and would feel better if I ran. So I ate yogurt and iceberg lettuce salads and tuna fish. And I ran a lot during that hot and humid DC summer, but I don't think I did any racing. I remember sweating a lot. Yes, I lost some weight.
When I moved to the bay area, the weather was SO conducive to running. I went on short runs after school; lots of 30 minute runs to burn off the stress of teaching. I'd explore new neighborhoods and admire the scenery. I started connecting with other runners, and Carolyn and I decided to run a marathon- the 2001 Chicago marathon. That was almost 8 years ago. Woh....