SpeedyKate and I ran my favorite 7-miler on Monday night, and I'm ashamed to admit that I finished feeling a little sorry for myself. Sorry in that I felt it shouldn't have been as hard as it was, and that I should be faster than that night demonstrated...
But then I started thinking - there was a time when running 7 miles was a major accomplishment.
Flashback to the summer before my freshman year of high school, circa 2001. I'd already been running (slowly and no more than 4 miles) for two years, since 7th grade track. But beginning high school is a scary and daunting and serious event, and I was a bit nervous about starting cross country in the fall.
My high school team wasn't awesome - no one was going to the State meet or anything like that - but we weren't a total disaster either. In July before school started, our coach organized a cross country camp in Tahoe. We all met and spent a week giggling excessively, playing truth or dare, and whipping ourselves into some semblance of running shape.
A few weeks after cross country camp, I returned to Tahoe with my mama to spend one final weekend at the beach and on the trails before summer officially ended.
Of course, we went running. Until that time (and even afterwards), running with my mama was on-and-off terrible. She's a Step-Ahead Susan, and I hated her for it with all the rage of an angsty junior higher. (Go here to read more about my super running family.)
But when she said, “Ok, let’s do the 7-miler,” I agreed without question. Sister1 had already proven her cross country abilities, and now it was my turn. The concept of a long run with my mama (the woman who once ran a 2:46 marathon) was daunting, but I felt up to the challenge. I was almost an adult – about to start high school – and just beginning to identify myself as a runner.
I don't remember any details of the run, but I do remember that I kept up the whole way without whining or begging (or yelling) at her to slow down and wait. Maybe she was having an off day, or maybe I was just feeling good (let’s go with option 2), but 7 miles later we finished the run together.
Afterwards, maybe in the car to head home, she said, "Mollie, I'm impressed - you're in great shape!"
And I felt awesome.
And I felt awesome.