Saturday was my first ‘long run’ in marathon training so I laced up at 7:30am and ran the 8 miles around the suburbs where I grew up. Since most of my runs are done in the city, the suburbs was actually a refreshing change. I ran past my high school and continued going until I reached Spring Rock Park. For those of you who had Coach Metz in cross country, just reading the words ‘Spring Rock Park’ probably make you cringe. Since I’m training for a marathon, it might surprise some people to hear that while I did cross country in high school, I was terrible at it and dreaded any part that included actual running. I loved hanging out with my friends every day after school and going to team pasta parties, but when it came to running in meets or coming within 5 feet of Coach Metz, I was terrified. During the week we would do longer runs and 1-2 ‘track days’; sometimes those track days would be at the school and other days we would run to Spring Rock and do Indian Runs (I’m pretty sure these were made up to actually torture people). We would get in groups of 8-10 girls and run in a line around the park. While running, the girl at the end would have to sprint to the front of the line and so on. To me, this drill was hard, terrifying, and seemed to go on forever.
As I ran through Spring Rock Park on Saturday and headed back to my house, I thought about how far I have come since then. At some point (I think it’s part of that whole ‘growing up’ thing) I realized that the same part of cross country that scared me in high school, is the part I love now: you get out of running exactly what you put into it. You have to train hard to get the best results and you have no one to blame but yourself if you don’t reach your goals. While I don’t have Coach Metz to push me anymore, I have learned to push myself from dreading 3 mile runs to completing half marathons! I look forward to running now and I cannot wait to finish the marathon!