We’ve never been runners.
Lesley was on dance team in high school, but never really pushed herself in terms of physical endurance. I played baseball in high school, but utterly abhorred any kind of cardio.
In fact, even when I got out of college and developed an interest in fitness, my singular focus was on getting bigger, stronger, and more muscular. As a 130-pound kid in high school, I guess I’d developed a complex, and by the time I was an adult, I’d resolved myself to never be “small” again. Of course, for me that meant taking a myriad of supplements, eating twice the daily recommended caloric intake and only lifting.
From the time I was 21 until I turned 28, I rarely ventured onto a sidewalk, treadmill, or track for a run. I was often bloated, stiff, and lacked flexibility (that usually happens when you go from 130 pounds to 180).
Meanwhile, Lesley’s efforts in fitness were often confined to machines like stationary bicycles and treadmills, which she only walked.
We’ve never, ever been runners.
But though she wasn’t a runner, Lesley has always been something of a dreamer, and when she was 23 (she’s now 26), she decided that one day, even if it was decades later, she would run Disney’s Princess Half Marathon at Walt Disney World. She had always wanted to be a part of the “runDisney” community, and the Princess run always represented to her the most definitive way to affirm her status as a “runner,” as someone who was “fit,” and as a “princess” (yeah, that last part can be attributed to her).
She started running in October of 2012, battling through shin splints, side stitches, and the uphill battle that comes with truly running for the first time in your life. Even then, I could honestly take it or leave it. I began running with her around the modest walking path that encircles our local YMCA to provide support, and to hopefully spark my own interest in running so that Lesley’s journey could be our own adventure as a couple.
In February, Lesley ran her very first 5K (she had walked the same course two years earlier) at Furman University. She completed “A Hero’s 5K,” 13 minutes quicker than she had in her first go at it. I was so proud of her – trust me, if you saw what kind of pain she endured from the nearly debilitating shin splints she suffered early on in her training, you wouldn’t have thought completing a 5K would have ever been in her future. After she completed her first race, she was on her way to becoming a runner.
Well, it turns out I, too, can actually kind of run. Little more than a month after Lesley ran her first race, I competed in the 5K portion of the Seneca Half Marathon and 5K, the registration of which Lesley gave me as a surprise gift. I’d been running pretty consistently for nearly two months by that point, but surprised myself by finishing 2nd place in the Men’s 24-29 age division.
Now, of course, running races is all Lesley and I can talk about. We’ve been bitten by the bug, and we’re constantly trying to get our friends to run with us, and we scour the Internet and magazines for cool races we’re interested in. We frequent a few running stores in our area on an almost weekly basis. We maintain a vigorous fitness schedule in which we do strength training every other day at the YMCA and run every other day, only taking Sunday off (a day of rest, right?).
We’re not health nuts. We’re not world class athletes. Our times aren’t killer. But we’re runners – and we’re plenty happy with that.
We plan on doing at least one run per month, gradually building up the mileage until the ultimate dream – The Princess Half Marathon, which is held next February. Including the races we’ve already completed, here is our “In Pursuit of the Princess” plan:
- Feb. 2nd – A Hero’s 5K, Furman University, Greenville, SC (Lesley ran)
- March 16th – Seneca 5K, Seneca, SC (Andrew ran)
- March 22nd – American Cancer Society Moonlight 5K (both running)
- April 13th, Goodwill Mud Run, Greenville, SC (both running, along with two friends on 4-person team)
- April 20th, Family Dental Health Run4Fun 5K, Eastside YMCA, Taylors, SC (both running, as well as our 6-year-old son!)
- May 3rd, Greenville Health System 2013 Swamp Rabbit 5K, Swamp Rabbit Trail, Travelers Rest, SC (both running)
June, July, August, and September are still open, but we have a BIG challenge ahead of us in October….
- Oct. 5th, Twilight Zone Tower of Terror 10-Miler, Hollywood Studios, Walt Disney World, Lake Buena Vista, FL (both running – our very first runDisney event!)
November, December, and January are open. Of course, come February….
- Feb. 24th, Disney’s Princess Half Marathon, Walt Disney World, Lake Buena Vista, FL (both running)
As you can see, we’ve got some slots available, and we’re taking suggestions for which races we should be tackling in our open months. Let us know what you’d like to see us run!
Until Next Time,
Andrew and Lesley