I was never a great athlete. In my mind I was but in reality I wasn’t. I was just average. I tried many sports. I skied, skated, swam, played tennis and golf and cycled my little legs off but I never excelled. It didn’t mattered how good I was though, because I just enjoyed the experience. The glory and accolades were all in my mind. Then one day I discovered the pure joy of running. I wasn’t a fast runner. I never was in contention for a medal; I just loved the feeling of it. I loved the races. I loved the Boilermaker. I loved all the great friends. I loved running alone. I loved running in a group. I loved running on an early summer morning…just me and the birds. Nothing could beat running through the snow on a crisp Sunday morning with The Beatles blaring on my headphones (Yes, headphones. Yes, The Beatles). I loved running in new cities I visited. I loved running. Then the bottom fell out.
As a teenager I had dislocated my knee a few times and I never realized that such a traumatic injury would result in problems as I aged. I ran 12 Boilermakers, my favorite race. I even met my husband during the 1996 Boilermaker. A few years later my knee was no longer runnable (if that’s a word). No more Boilermakers. After 19 years I have finally accepted the fact that I will never be able to run again…ever. I am thankful to be healthy otherwise. I can walk, and exercise but I can’t do the one thing I truly wish to do….lace up my sneakers and run. I do have running dreams all the time. I can actually feel the wind in my face. When I wake-up it takes me a while to shake the reality of it and to realize that it was only a dream. All is not lost, I did find a solution of sorts. I am working part-time here at the Boilermaker Office. Now I deal with runners, listen to runners, read about runners, see runners, wear running gear but I am still not a runner. I guess it’s the simpler things in life that mean the most. That first summer when I hung up my running shoes was the worst. But that too passed. I am blessed to still be involved in this sport and working for the Best 15K in the Country. Happy 40th Boilermaker! By the way, I still always buy the top running shoe….just to walk in….just because in my mind I am still a runner and always will be.