I don't remember a time in my life when I was not running, although the meaning and reasons of running have changed quite a bit over the years.
As a kid, growing up in Romania, I ran the streets of Bucharest with my friends, from the moment I came home from school to the evening hours when I could no longer ignore my parents voice calling me in for dinner. I ran in sandals and I ran in boots. I ran in skirts and I ran in dresses. I did a bit of crosscountry running when I was 9 years old; I remember running one race starting up as the first and finishing last. Certainly this competitive running was not for me.
I moved to the United Stated in 1994 and I gained weight in a matter of months. I started going to a gym, lost the weight, and flirted with running on the treadmill. I loved it. I remember the thrill of running faster and faster, and the amazing feeling that followed such intense running. But I did not stick to it. I am not sure why.
I started running consistently in 2000, a few months before my wedding. I remember running around Fresh Pond in Cambridge. I did a loop the day I got married, and it helped with the precommitment jitters. I continued running daily during our 2 week honeymoon in Hawaii, and when I moved to Ohio for graduate school. I used to run every day for 5-6 miles. I did not stretch or crosstrained. I did not care about the time, or about the gear. I would get lost in the music and enjoy every minute of running. In Ohio I fell in love with winter running, although I also grew a reputation of being a little crazy (funny, since I was studying to become a clinical psychologist), but I think most runners carry this reputation to some extent. I ran a few 5 Ks in Ohio, all part of the Clean Air Challenge - my father died of lung cancer, and that has been my way to connect and morn his loss. Running kept my sanity during the long nights of studying and writing of my dissertation.
In 2004 I was forced to return to Romania because of an immigration error. My American citizen husband accompanied me. We spent 8 tough months there, dealing with the possibility of never being able to return to the US. Running saved me during those months. I remember running on the streets of Bucharest, followed at times by the stray dogs, staring eyes, and frequent comments "Why in a rush?". I bet things are different now, since Constantina Tomescu won the Olympics. I got pregnant in Romania and continued to run . Running allowed me to connect with my baby in a very special way.
We returned to Romania May 2005. My son was born in August. I started my residency in July, took a few months off after delivery, and went back to my residency in October. I started running again one week after my son was born. I ran with him in a jogging stroller, first with a car seat, for extra protection. He loved it and I loved it.
Two years ago at a birthday party for one of my son's bodies, I met a mom who told me about the Runnaway Mom's running group in the area, who ran together every Saturday morning. I was a bit intimidated to join, but my son was getting tired of running in the stroller, and I was excited for some company. I joined, and pretty soon I signed up for my first half marathon. After that, I was hooked. This year I resolved to run 12 races, and I am very close to this goal. This year I also fell in love with trail running and have done a few trail races. I am now hooked on both distance and speed, and I see improvements every months. I plan to run my first marathon next year.
I learned that my body can't run more than 4 days a week, and 25-30 miles, without getting injured. I learned that I need to crosstrain and that swimming can be meditative and fun. I try to strengh train and stretch. But nothing compares to running, to the feeling I get when going fast and sleek, my breath in and out, my stride long and strong, my body and mind present. That's when I feel most alive.
Building a clock
8 months ago