About 10 years ago I did a 4th of July fun run two mile race. I thought it would be a cake walk, but boy was I wrong. It was a humbling experience as I finished last. After, I decided I never wanted to feel like that again and committed to teaching myself how to become a runner.
I started by looking up the couch to 5k training program and would show up for my scheduled run after work every day. It was challenging, but got easier each day. It didn't take long for me to fall in love with running. What I love most is that there is always something to work on: distance, pace, beating your last race time. After I conquered couch to 5k, a friend convinced me to sign up for my first 5k race, so I did. Soon it was "if you can do a 5k you can do 5 miles." So I did. Guess what she said next? "If you can run a 5 mile, you can do a half marathon" so I signed myself up for my first half marathon.
In the beginning, I ran to prove to myself I could do it and become the best runner I could. Now, as a mother of a energetic 4-year-old, a wife, and a small business owner, running is my "me time". I am so lucky to have my running buddy, Beth, run with me five days a week. Having someone to run with holds me accountable and keeps me getting up each morning. I lost my mom in a tragic motorcycle accident this summer, and if it wasn't for having to get up to meet Beth, there would have been many days I wouldn't have gotten out of bed at all. I know I have to show up because Beth will show up, and I'm not going to let her down. We run outside all year round at 4:30 a.m. People think we are crazy, but we love it. We are currently training for the Eau Claire half marathon followed by a full marathon in the fall.
The Eau Claire Marathon has such a presence in our community it's almost impossible to be a local runner and not do it. So many area businesses get involved in sponsorship, and the organized runs each Saturday make training much easier. The course sprawls through our beautiful city, highlighting all the best parts - including my very own neighborhood in the third ward. The spectators are the best of any race I've participated in! Parked along highways, driving beside you cheering and honking, handing out popsicles, and even setting up sprinklers in the streets in front of their homes to keep the runners cool. The energy and excitement during the Blugold Mile makes you totally forget that you are running a race, and before you know it you are almost at that uphill finish. I am proud to be a runner and feel so blessed to run in this beautiful city with such an amazing community.