A reader emailed me the other day, asking me if I'm still running or not. He'd just seen my talk from last summer's Inbound conference (the somewhat misleadingly titled How to be a Writing God), and I realized that now might be as good a time as any to give y'all an update on all of that. You know, one year later and whatnot.
So, Beth. Are you still running?
Well, yeah! I'm still running. It's actually still totally my jam.
Let me think. What's happened since the last time we spoke?
Okay, so I ran through the winter. That was tough. It was cold. But then came spring, and it got easier. And before I knew it, it was race season again.
I revisited the scene of my very first 5K, running the Capeabilities 5K again with my very first and most encouraging of all race buddies, Bernadette, and her very adorable granddaughter, Juliet. It was raining as we gathered our bibs, but clear and cool by the time we toed the starting line. And what was a struggle last year was an absolute breeze this time around. Everybody's been telling me it would be easier and more fun this year. And it was.
Then a few weeks ago, I went and reran the Harwich Road Race. And based on how much fun I'd had at the Capabilities 5K, I was pretty much ready for what was tough as nails 12 months ago to be just a freaking blast this time around.
And it was.
But it wasn't all repetition and rehashing for me this spring. Oh heck no. My big training goal this year was to run the Provincetown 10K, which I also suckered a couple of my work friends into doing with me as well. Bernadette had done it last year, and she was hugely helpful in egging me on to register for it this year, too. And I was looking forward to it all winter, despite how well I remembered finishing a particularly grueling 5K in the fall and thinking that I didn't see how I could POSSIBLY consider racing a distance TWICE as far as THAT.
Well. But then I did.
And then finally I ran the JP Morgan Corporate Challenge, which was a huge milestone for me in a slightly different kind of way.
Because it was two years ago on that day that I sat at my desk at HubSpot and watched dozens of my coworkers file by me wearing matching race team T-shirts, laughing and joking with their more sedentary friends about how they should totally suit up and come along for the ride. A couple of folks sitting near me even took them up on the offer. On a lark. A whim. They just got up and agreed to run three and a half miles.
Not a single person stopped by my desk and suggested that I run three and a half miles that day. Why would they? At the time, I weighed over 260 pounds. Sometimes I felt faint just crossing the room. Literally. I used to have to stop and rest my hand up against the wall when I was just walking from one part of the office to the other. It's no wonder it never even occured to anyone that I might take part in anything calling itself a "fun run." What could possibly be fun about that for somebody like me?
So on they all walked. And it burned me a bit, it's true. If ever there was a moment when something clicked inside me, it was then. I was sick of feeling invisible. Sick of being so obviously, unquestionably not cut from athletic cloth. Just sick of it all.
I remember I walked over to the second floor atrium so I could overlook the steps where the big team photo was being taken of all of the happy little HubSpotters participating that year. Our CEO was leaning over the railing too, watching the goings-on below. I went over and stood next to him, my mood sinking lower with every step.
"Why the long face?" he asked. Casually, as one does.
"I decided I'm taking up running," I heard myself say. "I'm going to run that race next year."
Brian smiled encouragingly and looked back down at the gang of happy HubSpotters, most of them now crowding toward the doors and the starting line across town.
"You should," he said. "It looks like fun."
I nodded, and went back to my desk.
The next week, I joined Weight Watchers. The week after that, I started to run.
Last year, we missed the deadline to register a team for the JP Morgan Challenge. By that time, I'd run my first 5K -- but only just. I told myself I'd be even readier in 2014.
And what do you know? I was.
So what's changed in two years? Everything, I guess. And if I seem to go on and on about running sometimes, like it's been some sort of life-changing thing, it's because it is. At least, it has been for me.
So yeah, I'm still running. And I'm still dreaming up bigger goals. I'm registered for the Falmouth Road Race in August, which I'm running in support of Independence House in Hyannis. And I've got my eye on a half marathon in October. I'm training through yet another hot and humid New England summer, and I'm only a handful of pounds away from the goal weight I set for myself all those long months ago. At this writing, I've lost 110 pounds.
All in all, I'd say it's going fairly well.
So that's my status report. What about you? Are you running, or changing, or dreaming any crazy old dreams?