It was a scale. I stepped on a scale, got the pants scared off me (well, they might have if they hadn’t been so much tighter than they had been a few months before), and ran in the other direction. For about three minutes, which is when my lungs gave up and my legs gave out and my heart just about stopped. And then I walked for a minute until I felt like my body wouldn’t explode, and then I started running again. Yep, that’s the story in a nutshell. So predictable. So typical.
We’d only been married for a few months. We had moved to Hawaii, had started a new job, a new school, a new life. The stress of it all compounded, I’m sure, by the birth control, caused me to gain enough weight that I could have been nine months pregnant. But I wasn’t. I was just chubby. I cried to my husband and we made a plan and a pact to stay active. Because I’d never really played sports, Ultimate Frisbee and volleyball were not options. We were too scared of the ocean to go swimming in it. We were too cheap to buy tennis rackets. So we started running. We had no iPods, no fancy running shoes, no “real” running clothes. We didn’t know anything about form or pacing or fartleks or tempo runs. But a few times a week, we’d get out and go for a short run. Short because we both wanted to die by the 5th minute. (Me more than Micah.) Then we would stop, walk for a minute or two, and then run some more. Sometimes we’d end at the beach for a little fun in the sand, sometimes we’d run the trails through the mountains behind our house.
After a few weeks, I started to see results. I was happier. I felt healthier. I was lighter. I started to not hate running. Then I started to think I could maybe run a race. I told one of my brothers about my plan to train for a 5K. He kind of laughed at me. “You could run a 5K today if you wanted to,” he said. But I was pretty sure I could only run for 8 minutes and there was no way I could cover 5 kilometers in 8 minutes. His response made me more determined to keep running, but also encouraged me to shoot a little for a more ambitious goal than a 5K.
My friend Diana told us about a race in Honolulu she had run. It was 8.15 miles. It started at Aloha Tower, ended at Aloha Stadium and was called the Great Aloha Run. Micah and I talked it over. Could we ever get up to 8.15 miles? Could we ever be as fit as Diana? We’d never know unless we tried. We consulted some friends regarding a training schedule, submitted our registration online, and filled our our very first training calendar. We were serious runners now. And we were pretty excited about it.