The first run and how it turned into a life of dedication

The very first run

When I was in 7th grade I started a new school.  I went from Christian Life School with an average class size of about 10 students to Rosemount Middle School. Transferring to Rosemount was like a gift from God.  I loved it. I loved all of the kids and meeting new people.  One thing that I was insecure about though was the upcoming Standardized Physical Fitness Testing in gym class. That was where you had to do as many sit-ups as you could possibly do in a certain amount of time, pull-ups, stretches and of course the daunting mile run.  I’m sure you all remember either the excitement or the stress that week of gym class brought.

My older sister Elena, would run for exercise and I told her about my worries.  So we went out for a run together around the “big block.” The big block is a 1.8 mile loop that starts and ends at our house.  I remember the first two stretches of the route were okay.  But halfway through the last stretch (we probably had about three minutes of running left) I had enough.  I told Elena that I couldn’t make it and that I would walk the rest of the way.  She didn’t like that idea and literally got behind me and pushed me all the way home.  I was bawling my eyes out and fighting with her about it.  However, I did finish that run. That one run probably didn’t help me run the mile any faster but it did give me a boost of confidence.  I think I ran that mile in about 12 minutes!

That first run with Elena is a run I will always remember and Elena is definitely the reason why I am still running today. After that, I continued to run the big block (sometimes regularly and sometimes not) and I got stronger.  My freshmen year of high school (I think) Elena, Emily (my other sister) and I ran a 5K. It took us forever, but it was fun and I continued to run 5K’s.

Getting a little more serious

Elena during college and post graduation ran 1/2 marathons.  I always thought that was so great.  However, it wasn’t until the summer before my junior year of college that I ever thought about doing  a race that I really needed to train for and of course it was Elena’s idea. We decided to sign up for the Twin Cities 10 mile race which is the same day as the marathon.  The 10 mile is popular and therefore is a lottery system.  I think that lottery system was the reason why I signed up because we weren’t even sure if we would get in.  However, we did and Elena and I ran it along with one of her friends from work.  We trained pretty diligently together and it was fun.  The race was the real thrill though.  I couldn’t believe all the people that were there cheering me on and the huge crowd at the finish line screaming. (Including my mom and dad.) Actually this reminds me of the story I wrote about the 10 mile race for my magazine writing class in college.  I’ll add that story to the blog if I can find it on my crowded laptop.

The day we wish never happened

After finishing that race I had a new sense of what I could accomplish.  And Elena and I set two goals for the year of 2008: to run a 1/2 marathon and a full marathon.  We signed up for the New Prague 1/2 Marathon in May of 2008 with my cousin Jaclyn, and our friends Melissa and Stacey.  We had to train for it is the winter but it was so fun, until a very dark, dark saturday morning. Elena, Melissa, Stacey and I set out to run 11 miles.  However, we got our route mixed up and we took a detour.  It felt like we had been running forever and Elena and I were ready to be done.  However Melissa and Stacey didn’t think the route would be long enough so we split up.  Elena and I set out to finish and Melissa and Stacey went farther.  Elena and I were struggling, it was freezing cold (literally), it was snowing, and we just wanted to be done.  We were about to turn off onto Summit Ave. which was our last long stretch which we though was about two miles long (it turned out to be like three.) when it happened.  Elena’s knee went out.  It was really painful and she tried to run but she couldn’t.  So, I had to leave and run as fast as I could so I could get my car and pick her up.  I was running on Summit (which also happens to be the last stretch during the marathon) by myself and it was pure hell.  I started crying because I was so cold and tired and I was mad at myself too.  I couldn’t understand why this run was so hard for me.  I though it was only about ten miles long and I had run further than that before with much more ease.  I could see families getting out of church and I wanted to beg them to drive me to my car, but I didn’t.  I finally made it and drove to pick up my injured sister who was having a much harder (and colder) time then me since she could only walk.  Later that day I found out that I had run 14.3 miles.  The route we thought was only 10.  I was about to give up on running after that day until I had that explanation of why it was so hard for me.  Unfortunately whatever happened to Elena’s knee that day still hasn’t completely mended and healed.

Our first 1/2 marathon

I was (and is) very fortunate to have Melissa, Jaclyn and Stacey to run with. And Melissa and Jaclyn and I ran that New Prague 1/2 Marathon together.  (Stacey is a lot faster than us so she took off ahead during the race :)) Elena is such a sweetheart and was there cheering us on!

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Jaclyn had the blue top and black capri leggings with pink accents on.  Melissa is the blond with black pants and a white tank top and I am the one wearing black shorts and a white tank top and a pink long sleeve shirt around my waist. My mom happens to be the lady cheering in the background (she became the famous cheerer that day, all the runners loved her.)

Left to right is me, Jaclyn, and Melissa

Left to right is me, Jaclyn, and Melissa

That race was a great run for me and it got me pumped up for the marathon.  The three of us ended up signing up together along with my uncle, Jaclyn’s father.

2 Responses to “The first run and how it turned into a life of dedication”

  1. Sue Theorin Says:

    When you give yourself to a dream, you will succeed!

  2. Tara Feuerstein Says:

    I love ur little website Leah very inspiring and u r such a motivating peer of mine! I am going out running today because I used to love it and this just got me pumped for it. It’s been years but I always forget it’s not a competition it’s a spiritual journey thanks for this short story:)

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