Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Twelve Years of...

This month marks twelve years of running for me. 1994 became a landmark year - I'm not sure why. That was the year I decided to become a vegetarian, the year we began homeschooling, the year I started my current job and the year I began running. At the time, I was a parent in the same cooperative preschool where I am now advisor/instructor. My husband and I were good friends with three other couples in the co-op and we had a little competition going on. We called ourselves the "Nordic Gods" and we were trying to see which couple could get accumulate enough miles on the Nordic Track to get us to Los Angeles. It was fun and hilarious and after it was over, the other three Moms and I decided we should try running. We'd take all our kids down to the community track and jog a mile or two. I was so sure I'd hate it that I wouldn't invest any money in shoes - I used my husband's old high-top Air Jordans to run in. They were a little loose, so I'd just lace them up a little tighter and go.

The grouchy caretaker at the track didn't like our kids playing in the infield, or us using a jogging stroller. He was sure both would cause damage, so we had to give up using the track. School was still in session, so we couldn't use any of the school tracks. Running together came to a halt. However, by this time, I had decided I liked running. Our neighborhood is a .7 mile loop, so I started running laps there - still in the clunky shoes. After about a month, I decided I was going to stick with it and finally bought myself a pair of shoes. About six months later, Eric decided maybe he should try it too. He was racing within a year, though I didn't race for at least two more years. For a long, long time I ran every other day for about four miles. Same route day after day. I don't think I started bumping up mileage and trying new routes until the spring I decided to run Sound to Narrows.

I'm pretty sure that part of what kept me running that first year was the stress of my new job and the decision to homeschool. I was hired as a Parent Educator based on knowledge that I acquired through self-education. My undergraduate degree and my job experience was in Computer Science. I had been attending parent education classes through a co-op in another town with our older son, had become interested in child development and early childhood education and had started reading. Apparently I gained enough knowledge and was applying it well enough to be recommended for the job. I hired on, but I felt like a fraud - I kept thinking that I needed some formal education in order to be credible. I actually taught for three years before I decided to get my Masters in Early Childhood Education. By that time, I had a little more confidence in myself and entered the program with enthusiasm. Of course, during this time period I was also a beginning homeschooler. Although the actual homeschooling wasn't stressful, dealing with my family and public perception of homeschooling was. Sometimes I ran to settle my thoughts on the topic, but most of the time it was to get a quiet hour to myself.

Anyway, here I am, many years later, still a vegetarian, still a parent educator, still a homeschooler and still running. In fact running has become one of the focal points of my life. I've run distances that I didn't think were possible, and have dreams of longer distances. I've run races and relays, I belong to the best running club ever and have made more friends than I could've dreamed of through running. For heavens sake! I even am blogging about running! Who'da thought?

8 comments:

robtherunner said...

And where would the rest of us be without ya? A simple decision that has affected more lives than just your own.

E-Speed said...

heres to 12 more years of running!

Flo said...

Wow, congrats. It's amazing when you look back how things go places you never imagined at the time, huh?? Keep on running and blogging as we all love reading you.

olga said...

Congratulation, Michelle! That's commitment:)

Donald said...

Gosh, just think of what will you be doing 12 years from now.

angie's pink fuzzy said...

wow, how cool!

My parents chose to homeschool me for about half my education...may I ask why you chose to homeschool?

Sarah Elaine said...

Inspirational post - and a testament to your dedication.

*jeanne* said...

Happy Runnerversary! And many, many more! Congratulations!