These western Oregon winters used to really bring me down. Coupled with a job that I disliked and being newly married in a college town that all my friends had just deserted, the endless overcast days had me pretty depressed most of the time. One January day, however, Keith and I decided enough was enough. We took ourselves down to Timberhill Athletic Club and plunked down a pile of cash for a membership. Immediately it was like the skies had parted and little rays of sunshine were peeking through the clouds. I would leave a long day’s work, drive to Timberhill, don my cap and swimsuit and put in 2500 yards in the pool. Stroke, breathe, hard flipturn, stroke. I would swim until all the tension loosened from my shoulders, until I didn’t care about my awful boss anymore, until I no longer felt like I was the biggest failure on the planet. When I would pull myself out of the pool my biceps were ripped, my lungs were strong and the water slid effortlessly off my sleek, lycra-clad body. It was like a lightbulb had come on: this exercise stuff could really pull me through!
Eventually, I got some new friends. I got fired from my job by the awful boss (good riddance). I took a hard look at my life and decided to be brave and start the farm I’d always dreamed of. We moved to Philomath and the athletic club wasn’t so convenient anymore. Despite the physical labor of farm work, I still wanted something active to do. Stacking feed bags and moving broiler pens just doesn’t fit the bill for aerobic activity. I know enough fat farmers to rid myself of that delusion.
Enter running. I watched Keith run the Portland Marathon in 2010. I thought he was crazed in the head.
I did the Beaver Freezer Triathlon in February 2011 and asked Janine to team up with me and run the 5k part. I mean, I’m a swimmer not a runner, people.
I watched Keith (and everyone else I know) run the Corvallis Half Marathon in April 2011. I thought they were all crazed in the head.
But, everyone looked like they were having a blast. So, I bought some running shoes and a pair of shorts and joined the madness. Turns out these things are highly addictive:
So, now I’m a runner. I love it more with every track workout and every race. In lieu of swimming, it’s a pretty decent sport. And the people I’ve met through running are darn awesome!
Today I completed my first half marathon ever. Because I’m mildly obsessive/competitive, I have been nervous about it for weeks. I also didn’t train very much for it. Over the holidays, I think I got confused and thought I was training for an almond roca eating contest. But I braved the snowstorm and the very icy roads and finished the Cascade Half Marathon in 1:48:27 and placed 2nd in my age group to boot! If you’ve never experienced running 13.1 miles into the wind while constantly wiping snow off your eyelids, I highly recommend it. Seriously. It beats sitting on the couch in the winter and being depressed by a long shot!