Sunday, September 29, 2013

Just Call Me the Runner Wannabe - For Now

When you grow up sandwiched between brothers, it's best to just be a tomboy. One thing's for sure; it worked for me!

Running and jumping, climbing trees, riding bikes with no hands and spending days in the woods were what my life was about when I was a kid.

I found trouble and I made trouble if there wasn't any to find, but it was all good fun - well, mostly good.

I don't remember this photo being taken, but it's clear that either three of us were thinking about a way to get all four of us into trouble or we were already in trouble.

Despite my lack of girly girl skills, my younger sister was quite a girly girl. But she still thought I was funny when I did silly tomboy stuff like ride a bike no hands or hang upside down from the clothes pole.

Not much changed as I grew older. I wore skirts and dresses to school because it was required. I wore makeup in high school because I thought it made me look oh so cool.

I was never a girly girl except maybe for a while in my teens. I wasn't a girly Mom and I'm not a girly Grandma either.

Despite all of my tomboy ways, I never played team sports. There weren't many of them back then and I wasn't terribly coordinated. But I played a ton of backyard sports.

As a Mom, I did a lot of Dad things for several reasons. I enjoyed being outdoors and playing ball. My kids' Dad worked in the evenings and he really wasn't much into sports anyway.

Some would say I lived vicariously through my kids, but I'd have to disagree. I was just there to help, however help was needed, but I will admit that I had a blast doing it all. Along the way I coached a lot of teams and learned some of the things I didn't know about sports from the other dads.

I never really thought about running or about becoming a runner. I'd watched my son competing in cross country when he was in high school. It looked like fun, but wasn't necessarily something I wanted to do.

When I began writing online content, my focus was on family topics. Then came the day when they were looking for writers to cover other topics. One of those was topics was local outdoor recreation.

The tomboy in me jumped at the chance to write about outdoors stuff. At the time the assignment started, it was running season. What I didn't realize then is that it's always running season!

It didn't take long for me to get bitten by the running bug. I was immediately drawn to the camaraderie I saw within the Lynchburg running community.

More than that, I got drawn into the excitement the runners felt as they competed and finished the course. I walked my first 5K to support a friend.

A few weeks later, I covered my first Virginia 10 Miler as a writer. I made a promise to myself that I would be running in the next year's 5K and hopefully the 10 Miler.

As I do with most things, I jumped in with both feet. Like many new runners, I didn't spend enough time learning the basics and warming up.

Hello, plantar fasciitis! Did you know that if you Google "plantar fasciitis" you come up with 5,555,000 results in 20 seconds? It's true!

Sidelined, I worked on getting my bad foot better. Therapy and exercises helped and eventually I got back to brisk walking. I walked multiple 5Ks and hoped to notch it up a bit.

Then, BAM! I got hurt at work, straining my back in a nanosecond while doing nothing wrong. A very painful week off from work and multiple doctor visits followed.

My back isn't as bad as it was in July, but it's sure not where it was before the injury or where it needs to be. So people were quite surprised when I joined the local running club AND signed up for the Turkey Trot.

A girl's gotta have a dream, even if she's not a girly girl. This blogging Grandma's dream is that I will get better and I will eventually run.

But I'm definitely not planning on the running thing happening any time soon. I am hoping to walk the Turkey Trot, just as I did last year, assuming the doctor says it's okay.

Walking is not on the verboten list, at least not at this moment. As for joining the running club, it makes me feel less like a moocher when I attend events and meetings.

I'm glad to be part of such a great group of people. So, yes, that's me posing with those runners on a recent early morning in front of Riverside Runners, my favorite running store.

Included in the photo are two world-famous runners, Kathrine Switzer and Roger Robinson, who I met on the morning of the photo.

As they all jogged off down the Avenue, I got into my car and drove to work. I'm no fool and my back's not healed enough to run, not even at a slow jogging pace.

But stay tuned, the story's not over yet. Time heals all wounds, or so they say.

For now, I'll have to live vicariously, writing about the mudders and 5Ks, half marathons and fulls, triathlons and fun runs that other people are running.

But one of these days, when my back's all better, you may see my smiling face in the middle of a pack of runners on the way to the finish line.

Until then I'll take what I can get when I can get it and do the best I can to face each day with a smile on my face, a prayer on my lips and a song in my heart.

Blogging Grandma Sandy, signing off for now.

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