I once had to run the mile at school with a patch over one eye. And I've never been the same.
Every year in elementary school all the kids in my school had to run The Mile. Part of some sort of public school physical fitness mumbo jumbo I'm sure every school has to do. It was my one true physical activity each year and it was positively awful. They made us wear numbers and everything — tried to convince us it was some sort of cool race. I saw through it. I walked/ran/whined my way across the finish line each year, did my sit-ups, touched my toes and got back to more important stuff. Like that week's spelling words.
But third grade. That's the mile run that I remember. The week before the all-important run, there had been an unfortunate incident at recess that had resulted in my friend Scott's finger poking me in the eye. It turned out to be semi-serious and required a visit to a doctor which – unfortunately for my already-not-the-coolest reputation in the third grade – required my eye be taped shut and covered in a lovely patch. Fabulous.
Cue the mile run. There was no rescheduling The Great Annual Mile Run for poor little Sarah Martin. So there I was with my one good eye, surely doing more whining and walking than actual running. But I made it across the finish line. And made my peace with a new attitude toward running.
I don't run.
I'm serious. In fact, I'm not really a fan of most physical activity. Some of you may remember THIS. But let me assure you that if I hadn't been there myself and done that with my own two feet, I wouldn't have believed it. And I'm still pretty sure that stubbornness rather than physical ability is what got me up and down that thing.
It's not my thing. This body was not built for running. Walking, yes. Climbing, yes. Walking and climbing does not equal running.
That said, I ran a mile tonight without stopping.
Let me play that back for you. This girl right here ran a MILE. Without stopping.
A WHOLE MILE. I have never done that before. Never even tried. Never even WANTED to try. But I got done with my elliptical and was headed for the door, passing right on by the row of treadmills just like always. And I stopped and thought, I've got five minutes – I wonder how far I could run. This should be good.
So I stepped on and started running.
After a quarter mile, I decided to see if I could do a mile. I almost talked myself out of it halfway through and thought, A half-mile is good! Go ahead and stop.
But I didn't. And twelve minutes later, there I was. Staring at the numbers on the treadmill in awe.
Some of you are scoffing at my one measly little mile. I know. Trust me, I KNOW. But you gotta start somewhere.
This past week, I half-jokingly made a pact with a coworker that we would run the Race for the Cure 5K together next spring. I'm now officially 51% sure that will happen.
I still don't run. But at least now it's clear that I know how.