Monday, December 20, 2010

Holiday Gift Guide Day 10 Running by Amy Graver

I have been surrounded by runners my whole life. Honestly, you will never see me run unless it's after the Monster or being chased. I found that for most, it was something monumental in their life, that which inspired them to start. My Uncle ran his first Iron Man at the young age of 50 and my Father followed in his footsteps when he ran the New York City Marathon. So...I guess you can begin at any age..I have time..just never know...

Even though the Talented Miss Amy Graver is a newbie to running, she has certainly picked some amazing items to get any of you crazies running..
I absolutely love "her story"...It's beyond inspirational..

Beginner Runner

Last November, not long after my Dad was diagnosed with Lewy Body Dementia, I decided it was time. Time to do something just for me. That’s when I found running.

It was time for several reasons.

First, I’d put on an extra ten pounds after two pregnancies, and then, after a near death medical emergency which put my on steroids for a lengthy period just after my daughter was born, I was finally feeling well enough to get healthy again.

I never ran – or even considered running – as a sport. I’ve hiked, biked and played field hockey all the way to college. But running? Not for me.

Then I reflected on all the money I’ve wasted on gym memberships that went unused. Being a working mommy with two kids affords me very little time to make it all the way to the gym – let alone to work out. But, I thought, I have new running shoes somewhere in a box in a dark corner of my closet. And further, I pondered, I could put them on whenever a opportunity presents itself to sneak out the door and go for a run. It’s free – and it’s fast.

The first time I headed out the door, my neighbors must have saw me jog by and thought I was nuts. I barely made it around the corner, winded, but determined, I would not give up. So, I walked. I walked until I could run again. And I ran again, and again. I did this day after cold day. One day in January, it was 18 below and my husband tried to stop me from going out the door. “But if I quit today, it will give me an excuse to quit tomorrow” I replied and headed out the door. I ran five miles that day.

My Dad died this past May. He never saw me run. But I talk to him sometimes and feel his presence with me. Running has been my therapy and my release. As he became sicker, I became stronger. “Don’t worry about me, Dad”, I told him as I squeezed his hand. “I’ll be strong and healthy enough for both of us.” I promised him that I’d run my first race, the Father’s Day 5-mile race on Father’s Day in Branford, for him. And I did it. My family was waiting for me, screaming, crying, as I crossed that first finish line – somehow I know my Dad was there too, watching, cheering.

This past September, I ran New Haven Road Race. It’s 20k, or 12.4 miles. I still can’t believe I did it. I can’t wait to run it again. I’ve lost 21 pounds to date and still running. I never understood the passion and commitment of runners. Now, I’m proud to say I do. So for all you fellow runners out there, this list is for you …