I attended two marathons in the span of six months while working for a political campaign. But that wasn’t when I decided I wanted to run. Nope, at that time, I thought those people were nuts to be running outside in the cold, hours before most people even roll out of bed on a Saturday morning.
Don’t get me wrong, I’ve always had an interest in physical fitness. I love that I can transform my body simply by exercising and eating healthy. Unfortunately, my workout consistency ebbs and flows, but whenever I’m working out consistently, I can feel myself getting in shape and jeans that normally take me three hops to get into only take one (maybe one and a half!). So, I like working out – running in particular – but I still had no interest in marathons. I assumed marathon running is for African men or for white people who wear flip flops year-round and walk in the rain without an umbrella.
Then, one day this past summer, I was at an event for work and met a woman who turned out to be the leader of Black Girls Run: Columbus. Previously, I’d heard of Black Girls Run via Twitter, but had no idea there was a chapter in Columbus. According to the BGR national website:
In 2009, Toni Carey and Ashley Hicks created Black Girls RUN! in an effort to tackle the growing obesity epidemic in the African-American community and provide encouragement and resources to both new and veteran runners. The mission of Black Girls RUN! is to encourage African-American women to make fitness and healthy living a priority.
Here in Columbus, Koritha Mitchell and Janice Flowers run the chapter (no pun intended!). BGR Columbus meets for an hour on Saturday mornings to run – or jog or walk – and smaller subsets of BGR Columbus meet around the city during the week.
After I found out about BGR Columbus, I attended their group run one Saturday morning. When we were warming up, some were talking about the different marathons they’ve participated in: 5K, 10K, half-marathons, full marathons, etc and I was shocked! Black Girls run marathons! That morning, talking to those women I realized for the first time, I can run a marathon too!
I was a sprinter on my HS track team and never considered running any sort of long distance. But in college, when I picked up running again as a form of recreational exercise, I started running longer and lately I have been able to run a mile or two in one instance.
So, I decided to sign up for the Cap City Half Marathon. Even though, you can sign up for the 5K or quarter marathon, I thought I would run the 13.2 miles and then put the sticker on my car (do you ever notice those? I do! And I want one!). However, I changed my mind about that distance when someone told me that it takes about 2.5 hours to run the half-marathon. I’m not at all interested in running for two straight hours…at least not with the shape I am in right now.
Buuuut a quarter marathon is only 6.55 miles. I can run that!
I’d been procrastinating about signing up for the Cap City because I am trying to save money and paying to run a marathon when I can just run around outside for free seems like something only rich people do (or people who like to act rich). No thank you!
Then I remembered, my birthday is the week before that, so I decided this is my birthday present to myself. Plus, though I am trying to stop spending money frivolously, there are some experiences in life worth paying for and I definitely think this quarter marathon is one of them. It’s Columbus’s Bicentennial year and Black Girls RUN!, named the Capital City Half Marathon one of its national “meet up” races for 2012! I don’t want to miss that.
So, today I signed up for the Cap City (Quarter) Marathon and I am SUPER excited!
Running a bunch of marathons seems like an expensive hobby, so I doubt I will get into it like some of the BGR Columbus girls I met. It definitely seems like a great way to stay in shape though! So we’ll see.
For now, I need to get in shape for this race in May. My goal is to run the quarter marathon in 60 minutes! Wish me luck!