“Miles to Go for You.” If you’re a somewhat new reader to my blog you may be wondering why I chose that name. Miles to go for who? Don’t you run for yourself? Read on and you will understand, I promise. In order to explain, I will have to take you back to July 4th, 2010. My first running race ever. The picture below means so much to me.
It reminds me of where I started and how far I’ve come. Even though it was 7 years ago, I still remember Hunter and I lining up with all the other racers on the street next to Dansbury Park Pool. It was a scorching hot summer day and I remember feeling like I was doing something so far out of my element, being there among SERIOUS runners. When the gun went off, Hunter and I ran with the crowd. We had a short conversation and then the next thing I knew, my nine year old son took off! I tried to keep his blue shirt in my sight but I literally couldn’t keep up with him. He was running so much faster than we had trained! My goal for that race was to not walk, no matter what. I thought Hunter and I would run together, but I was so proud of him that I didn’t mind. I just kept telling myself not to stop running no matter how hard it felt. The sun was beating down on me as I plugged along on the levee in the last mile of the race, Hunter far out of my sight. Houses with torturous pools in their yards came into my view, but I kept moving. When I crossed the finish line in 28:11, Hunter was there waiting for me. He had ran a 24 or 25 minute race! A guy who finished behind me said I had a good pace and he had used me to keep moving forward. (I had no idea this was a thing and that I was helping someone out!).
Hunter and I had trained for our first 5K for a few months, side by side. We worked our way up to a 1.4 mile loop in our neighborhood, then to about 3 miles. (Those were the days when I had sneakers that weren’t actual running shoes. I drove my car on the loop beforehand to measure the mileage. And…I used the kitchen clock to estimate our pace!). Those training runs were HARD! Our 1.4 mile loop would take us through the dirt roads of our wooded community in the Pocono Mountains, past neighbor’s houses, past the community mailboxes, past their bus stop, and through a quiet woodsy area with no houses. There was also a “big hill”, the one the entire neighborhood used for sledding in the winter, that we had to run down. After we were able to do one loop well, we decided to double it and get as close to 3 miles as possible. We would switch directions during the double loop, which meant that we would not only have to run down the big hill, but also UP the big hill! When we finished our second lap, Hunter and I would literally throw ourselves down on the grass in the front yard and lay on our backs trying to catch our breath! Then I would quick run inside to check the time so I would know how long it took us.
Little did I know that that one little race would open the door to a whole new world to me. I had no idea that I would one day own things like Garmins, real running shoes, Gu, energy chews, compression sleeves, moisture wicking clothing, or balaclavas. Hell, I didn’t even know what most of those things were! I didn’t know how much running would teach me about myself and what was possible, and I certainly couldn’t have predicted all the new people and amazing friends that it would bring into my life.
I wouldn’t have believed you at all if you had told me then that someday I would be running trail races exclusively. And I without a doubt would not have believed you if you had told me I’d be running a 50 mile trail race with crazy elevation and beautiful waterfalls.
The picture below means as much to me as the one above. Hunter, now towering over me, and my son Eli, have watched me progress through the various distances of road races. They were there to cheer me on during my first half marathon in Philly, my first full marathon in the Poconos, my first 50K at Pine Grove, and my first 50 mile race in Ithaca, NY.
So, miles to go for who? In case you haven’t guessed it yet, it’s these two right here. My boys mean the world to me and in order to be the best Mom I can be, I run. I run to stay sane, to stay healthy, and to show them that when things get hard you keep on pushing forward. I run to show them that dedication, a fire in your heart, and a positive attitude can carry you for miles.