How and when did you come to be someone who runs?
I have been a walker for a long time, but am very new to running. It was actually reading Maggie May Ethridge’s interview that first convinced me to try running. She said that her running incorporates slow and fast, stops and starts. That threw lights on for me! I could run and walk! And it turns out, training in intervals—with higher and lower levels of intensity—is a real thing. I loaded up a Couch-to-5K training program on my phone, laced up my shoes, and headed out.
How do you feel when you're running?
I love being outside, love how fresh the earth smells early in the morning, love the growing light as the sun comes up. But running is not easy for me. When I walk, I often compose short bits of poetry—matching the cadence of the lines to my pace. When I run, there are no poems. It takes all my focus just to keep moving. When I’m back home eating some protein, that’s when I feel good. Tired, but so happy that I went!
What has surprised you most about picking up this hobby in adulthood?
I’m 42—healthy, but not athletic. I’ve lived in the jungle and birthed three babies at home. I knew my body was strong, but I never would have guessed that I could be a runner. I track my runs with an app. It’s amazing to me that with every run my distance goes up and my pace gets faster. I could stare at those charts all day! I also happen to be a fairly pessimistic person. Running is giving me the chance to try on a growth mindset. I’m attempting this totally new thing and seeing that I really can find success in surprising places.
How do you handle the days or weeks when the running is just plain hard?
Because I have three young children, my running time is limited. There are two dedicated slots in my week when I have childcare to cover a run. I can’t really choose to put it off or waffle about not feeling like a run. So on any given Wednesday or Saturday morning, I’m going to be running.
What would you say to someone who believes she can't run, who believes she's too old to run, or who feels self-conscious about being a beginner runner?
My house is on the Portland Marathon route. Every October we get to watch thousands of people run by our place. I feel like the most unlikely of runners, but twice a week I run Mile 17 and 18 of the marathon route. And I think being a beginner is actually kind of an advantage. There aren’t any expectations to meet or records to beat. Every time I run is another chance to listen to my body; every time I run it’s a win! And if I can make meaningful progress on every run, then just about anyone can.