My February Challenge Story…

This weekend’s Run: 16 miles
Route: Twin Peaks, Castro, Mission, ATT Ballpark, Embarcadero, Fisherman’s Wharf, Fort Mason, Marina, Presidio, USF, Golden Gate Park, Kezar– Map my Run Route!

So this month, I’ve asked runners to tell me why they LOVE running, when they became obsessed, tell us your story. Well, I don’t plan to actually enter the challenge but I figure it only makes sense for me to tell my story if I’m asking others to share theirs. So here it is: my love story…

I always played sports in high school. Soccer, volleyball… But by junior year I was worn out with the politics of team sports and quit altogether. I seemed to like working out alone much better, I joined our local health club and went after school to do my workouts. My dad had always been a distance runner, and he asked me one day to go running with him. I went, although I admit, he had to drag me.

Over the next few months, my dad would take me running and coach me about form, breathing, and distance. We would talk the whole way (which was something we didn’t do much at that time) so I looked forward to the bonding time with my dad. He taught me to run at a good endurance pace, a talking pace, and it was our time. Later on that year, my dad was diagnosed with cancer. He had surgery and went through Chemotherapy, and during that time his biggest disappointment was not being able to be active. He was grumpy and frustrated, having to spend all of his time indoors. He’d always wanted to run a marathon before his 50th birthday.

I kept running, and my dad recovered. When I went off to college, 2 states away, I would call home and tell my dad how my running was going. I just kept increasing my distance and I decided to register for my first half marathon. Nervous, I called my dad from the start line. “Go at your own pace“, he told me. It was a big success! Over the next few years, my dad and I ran a half marathon, and my senior year I decided to run a full marathon. I told my dad and of course he booked his flight out right away. Race weekend, we went to the Expo where I saw my coworkers from The SF Marathon, and I ended up running with our Race Director. My dad cheering me on the whole way, I finally made it to the finish line. I couldn’t have been happier to see my dad at the finish line with the biggest smile on his face I’ve ever seen.

Now, 3 full marathons and a handful of halves behind me, I still call my dad for advice. I call him when I cross the finish line and tell him how I ran. When I go home to visit my parents, we schedule runs and when we’re out there, it gives us time to catch up on life. As for my dad? His health is improving and I know the day will come soon were I greet him beaming at the finish line of his first marathon. Running may not have been “love at first jog”, but it is a love that I’ll have my whole life, because of who I share it with.

THAT is why I Run Happy!



3 responses to “My February Challenge Story…

  1. Thanks Sabrina for the great story. Here is my story.

    I’ve been running since high school and never really enjoyed it. I did a few 10k and 12k races but never really was motivated to do anything longer distance. I usually trained on the track or did the same route on the street.

    A few years ago, my father convinced me to do a half marathon and see how I do. My father loved to exercise and stay active. So I signed up for the SF Kaiser Half Marathon and I was so nervous that I started at the back of the pack. Well, as soon as the race started I started passing people and my confidence in my running ability grew. I believed that I could do this and I ended up with a decent time.

    Now, I run with a team and I’m expanding my running routes and doing more trails. I’m training to do my first full marathon in April and hoping to finish with a decent time. It was just a little motivation from my father that inspired me to run happy and enjoy life.

  2. falling in love with running hasn’t been an easy ride … to make any relationship last, it takes time to learn about each other, committment, consistentcy, the hard truth, and most of all love itself.

    attending college at the University of Hawaii, i had a few running friends, who would take me through the hills and houses in Manoa Valley, all the way to see Manoa falls … or a slow jog to the Ala Wai canal or all the way to Waikiki beach, just to see the ocean on a non-weekend :). running was a great get-away from homework and the lab, from the feeling of a numbing butt from sitting in the library all day … in essence, it became a taste of freedom. and isn’t that what love is suppose to feel like, freedom?!

    it wasn’t until a few more years of playful jogging (flirting with running) that one of those friends had me sign up with them to run the Great Aloha Run … 8 miles … a seemingly loooong run for me at the time. Thinking of the challenge was fascinating, stars in my eyes, yet at the same time i was so scared of the committment I was making to show up that morning, ready to run 8 miles.

    I ended up running that day, coming into Aloha Stadium with the feeling of a winner, my heart in my throat and tears falling from my eyes, like meeting the love of your life (maybe … cause i have yet to meet mine :).

    long story short, i ran a few more Great Aloha Runs, some 5 Ks and eventually graduated to a Half-marathon. My first one was Kole-kole pass, which is a CLIMB up and through the Waianae Range … but as you come down that mountain, feel the salt build on your arms and face from the ocean breeze, and as you look out into the Pacific Ocean, the aching muscles seemed to melt away. Coming into the finish of that first half was amazing because all my friends who ended up running only the 6-mile downhill were all there, waiting for me and cheering me on to the finish. Isn’t that what love is, there to encourage you to the finish, no matter how long it took to get there, love will never fail to be waiting …

    a few more runs here and there, and then i (unforgivingly) stopped running, as i moved away from home and went to graduate school. time flew by so quickly, having fun, finding other loves (or so i thought), but three years into graduate school, i felt it, not a nagging call back, but a peaceful loving call back to running.

    i got two other friends to join me in the SF-half marathon … run the ‘golden gate bridge’ it said … i felt i could do it, i felt i could come back. tho i rushed into it soon, with too much confidence that i could just be embraced; i ended up with a bad sprain after jumping over some bushes to get to a running trail … failure settled in over the three weeks of being off my feet, feeling my muscles start to wane, my spirit failing. but i couldn’t let it go that easily, i couldn’t because deep down inside i knew that i loved running, and that it loved me. i got well enough by the time of the run to do the 5 K … this time, i was there cheering on my friends who completed the half-marathon, encouraging them through the finish line. i learned the hard truth that i wasn’t always going to be the strong one in the relationship, that sometimes you just have to know when to give in and let go.

    after finishing school and moving to LA, i found the love for running again. I live near the sierra madre foothills which provides both nice gradual hills, long straight runs all the way to Pasadena and back, and the long enough 3-mile Rose Bowl loop that takes edge off “boring”. I signed up for my first full marathon last year: Long Beach 2009. Went onto runner’s world, learned a few tricks of the trade of how to prepare, got a 16-week program, and told my friends about it (so that they would understand why i couldn’t stay up late on Friday nights … or any night for the next 4 months). Consistency and Committment, here I was again, facing great fears. I pulled through the program and finished just under 4:50 that day … tears swelled up in my eyes as i thought about the wall i hit 4 miles back and how i told that wall that i was here, that i was not giving up because i was in love.

    I just finished Huntington Beach half marathon in the beginning of htis month just under 2 hrs., and now psyching myself up for the committment to train *and show up* for SF Marathon in July.

    It has taken me awhile to see that I loved running, and that yes, running loves me back. Even when you walk away from it, feel defeated by it, get hit by a wall with it; running never failed to tell me in the end that ‘I love you’. I’ve come to find that relationships are not about the individual days, the ups and downs or the daily grind, it’s about the entire journey.

    my relationship with running took time, consistency, committment, the cold hard truth, and most of all love. ❤

  3. I vote for Number 19 for the one I like the best.

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