Tuesday, December 3, 2013

A Photo Essay

11 years ago this Saturday I decided to run a marathon.

I wept and cheered while crossing the finish line of the St. Jude Memphis Half Marathon in 2002. The medal came off but the desire to continue long-distance racing endured.

This Saturday I'll return to the place it all started. Memphis. My hometown. This time I'll have four marathons and many halfs under my belt. My legs will be carrying more than two decades of distance running in their muscle memory.

I'm passionate about distance running and determined to qualify for the Boston Marathon.

Over the past month of this training cycle, I've attempted written essays about why qualifying for Boston is so important to me, but words fail to capture the magnitude of its significance. So, I decided to snap pictures along the way to try to show my reasons for running in general.

(If you follow me on Instagram, you've seen these already.)

Reasons I Run

Reason One
3-4 mornings a week I invite negative thoughts out for a run. Then I stomp the snot out of them before 6am. Sometimes they even stay away until the next run.

Reason Two
Pushing my physical limits is exhilarating.

Reason Three
Typically I despise being cold, but seeing all four seasons up close and personal is one of my favorite parts of running.

Reason Four
There are three things on my personal Bucket List -- a) join the Peace Corps, b) thru-hike the Appalachian Trail, and c) qualify for the Boston Marathon. God willing I'll check one of those off on December 7th.

Reason Five
We've moved a lot. The first step in me feeling "settled" is finding a running route and using it. Running is the constant that helps me cope with change.

Reason Six
Running gives me strength.

Reason Seven
I'm a former smoker. I run to combat 12+ years of damage to my lungs, heart, joints, coping skills, and no telling what else.

Reason Eight
The sun always rises, and it's nice to see it in action.

Reason Nine
In 1992 I joined the track and cross country teams, and since then running has been an everyday part of my life. Before boyfriends, acne, driving, and college. Before career, marriage, and kids. I was A Runner first. 

Reason Ten
Running gives me patience.

Reason Eleven
We've run hundreds of miles together. He used to get up at 4:30am to go drop water and fuel for our long runs (pre-kids). He lets me set the pace and distance. He's the first one I want to see at the finish. I'm still a die-hard solo runner, but his company always makes the miles go by more quickly.

Reason Twelve
My left foot hurts badly enough and consistently enough to remind me that running is a privilege. 

credit: Shane Thread
Reason Thirteen
Running is my favorite time to pray, be grateful, be humbled, ponder, and reflect.

Reason Fourteen
This little girl watches every move I make.

Maybe she'll be watching this Saturday as - God willing - an 11-year dream of mine comes true.


  1. I had plans to make you a BQ sign and come cheer for you around the 20 mile mark. But then the weather forecast came out. When it gets this cold I even abandon my husband when we're unloading kids in a parking lot and I run to the store yelling, "Every man for himself!" So....I probably will not be the good and supportive friend I should be in person. But I'll be thinking about you!

    1. Hahahaha! I *totally* understand. That's why I wrote "maybe she'll be watching" -- if I weren't running it, there's no way I'd be out there. Good will evaporates (or freezes) when temps drop below 32*. :)

  2. I have been thinking about you!!! How did you do???

    1. They cancelled it!! Memphis got hit with ice Friday, so the race officials decided the course was unsafe. They made the right call. I'm okay with it -- I'll just keep training and try again!


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