it was the last mile of the year in eighth grade. it was the one that counted and, as a girl, i had to run it in, at most, 12 minutes or i lost a letter grade. for a 4.0 student, this was an unbearable thought. i stood there with the rest of the "slow" group, waiting for the whistle to blow for our turn, turning the possible outcome over in my head. one letter grade would ruin my chance at valedictorian. i couldn't let that happen. when the whistle sounded, i ran off with all my power.
power that ran out about forty seconds later. fact of the matter was, i was overweight and the prior weeks of playing basketball on a half court hadn't really prepared me for this "final." it hurt. i hurt. i looked around as most of my classmates passed me on the track. how were all these other kids running non-stop? maybe because they played sports after school while i did drama. maybe because they were a decent weight for their height. maybe because they had always been active where as i had always been academic. whatever the reason, i wasn't fit to run this mile and hobbled across the finish line at 12 minutes 18 seconds. the physical ed teacher saw how distraught i was and reassured me "i saw how hard you tried; i'll only deduct a half letter grade." but the damage was done. i finished the course with a b+. i cursed running and swore off it forever.
it's now ten years later and i'm less bitter. in fact, when i see people run past me on my walk home from work, i actually admire them. many times, the idea of running a 5k has crossed my mind, and then i'm reminded that i can run about a minute before running out of fuel, and i tuck the idea away.
but i'm tired of tucking the idea away. i have done so many things that i thought i could never do, so why does being fit have to be one of them? so, in true cliche, i'm using the new year to finally become active and healthy. i'm here to redeem my thirteen year old self and i'm doing that by training for a run. and not just any run. i'm a go big or go home person, so i'm training to complete the dumbo double dare this august at disneyland! it's kind of crazy, but i'm determined. feel free to follow me on this journey to self-improvement; it's going to be an exciting time!