this is the story of how i came to love and appreciate running. yes that's right, I, Britain Earl said, "i LOVE running."
running has been a part of my cardio routine on and off for the since i started having a "cardio routine." it started with Ali cajoling me into a run when the wait at the Rec Cen was too long. these runs usually took the form of run/walks mostly due to my crying and begging to stop. these were also the days of the "low fat/no fat diets" where as long as something was low in fat, it was totally healthy. so, our "runs" were usually followed up with a non-fat frozen yogurt shake to drink whilst watching the latest episode of 90210, the Brenda and Dylan one!
after college, i found myself running on the treadmill for 30 minutes if i had missed a class at the gym or all the elliptical machines were taken. are you sensing a theme here? in short, running was my cardio fall back position.
fast forward to 2007, i'm living in Verrado, no 24 hour fitness within a reasonable distance, and just had my second baby. i turned to running once more. you may remember my first 5k. i trained, i met my goals. running helped me shed some of my unwanted baby weight. during the summer, i mixed it up with my first triathlon. this was primarily a way for me to temper the running with other exercises i didn't hate as much, namely swimming and biking.
i spent 2008-2011 largely avoiding running. but baby number 4 catapulted me into a whole new weight class. i found myself 4 months postpartum and about 20 pounds heavier than with any of the girls. i needed a goal, one that allowed me the flexibility of not going to the gym, since Colin was still too young.
that's where Ragnar came in! i set my sights on the race and started the training. it was a slow, gentle, reintroduction to running. just 15 minutes, 3 times a week. i knew i could do that! ever so slowly, the mileage increased and 7 months later I ran 3 legs totaling over 14 miles! this was a major accomplishment, but i still had lingering feelings of hatred toward running.
i didn't give up, i soldiered on, still cranking out 3-6 miles 3 or 4 times a week. but i felt my running lacked purpose, so i committed to a training program and focused on improving my time. goal setting helped a lot. but the real kicker, the change of heart came by a very unexpected event.
June 13, while at Girls' Camp, i had a seizure, the third in my lifetime. this 15 second event changed the way i feel about running! i had to leave camp, i had to go to the hospital, i had to see a Neurology team, i had to go through a battery of tests i've had twice before. the good news is, i'm totally healthy! there is no reason for my seizures. if there was, it would most likely be a brain tumor and it's not, so that's good.
the bad news is i am now being treated for seizures. i'm on a medication that makes me feel lethargic, tongue tied, and a little crazy. i can't drive for the next 3 months. at least. it's the first time i've ever left a hospital feeling worse than when i walked in.
what does this have to do with running? the doctor said i was healthy, he said exercise was great for my brain. when Jason said, "yeah, but she'll go out and run 8 miles!" the doctor said, "great, that will help you feel better."
at first i couldn't imagine it. Jason was witness to the drug making me so sleepy i couldn't even finish a sentence. but 2 days after i was released from the hospital, we went to the gym. i tested the doctors theory, and started running on the treadmill. i felt great. the clouds began to clear. i had focus i hadn't felt in days. i ran 6 miles, and the mental clarity lasted several hours. it was amazingly simple, and simply amazing!
i now LOVE running. i need it. i crave it. it gives me the energy nothing else can. (ps: no caffine for me anymore either). and also is the only time i get out of the house on my own now. but seriously, i can now genuinely appreciate the benefit running is to me. and i am profoundly grateful that i welcomed it back into my life 9 months ago!
and thanks baby number four, for making me gain so much weight i thought my only solution was running!