I picked up running somewhere between my last soccer game in high school and all the beer I drank in college. The first time I ever felt Runner's High was early one morning in September of 2003 after I graduated from UVA. I was running across Memorial Bridge into DC, staring straight at the Lincoln Memorial and this new fantastic city I was to call home. It was 90 degrees, but I had chills. And it was then that I realized I had done it - I had grown up. While running on Memorial Bridge I entered my first official day of adulthood. It felt really good, and I kept at it.
In the spring, I ran DC's St. Patrick's Day 10K. Although I played soccer as a kid, my #1 was always dancing. I used to think I couldn't love anything more than being on stage. But running 6.2 miles and having a crowd of fans cheer me on for an entire hour, start to finish, was sooo much better than the sum of all the 45 seconds of applause I've received for the hundreds of 4 minute dance pieces I have performed on stage. Now I was hooked.
In the fall, I completed the RockN'Roll Half Marathon in Virginia Beach. That's right, 2 full hours of people telling me I can do it! And that I am fast! And that I am strong! And that water's just ahead! I loved the Half twice as much as I loved the 10K. So, I though, "Let's double down again!" And a few more months later, in November of 2003, after hearing my dad yell, "C'mon Cole!" during my sprint through the final .2 miles, I crossed the finish line of the Philadelphia Marathon in 4 hours and 13 minutes. I cried and I smiled. I hugged and I celebrated. (I spent some time in the bathroom.) It was the best day of my life.
Nearly two years later, I'm still at it. I've had a stress fracture in my hip. I am a snob about running shoes. I am Body Glide's #1 customer. And I have a marathon PR of 3:55! And, you guessed it - I'm getting pretty cocky. Because you'll remember, I have been waking up most weekend mornings with a hangover the past two months, which certainly means I haven't been completing too many long training runs. Which is a shame, because I'm running the Nike Women's Marathon in San Francisco (the #1 running city in the country!) on October 23.
Should be interesting.
San Francisco is pretty flat, right?