I have never been a “natural athlete.” I have never had talents for the athletics, and I trip over air periodically. Knowing this (I guess I was always a slow slothy child), my parents put me through vigorous athletic childhood. I swam for 10 years (2 to 12 years old), and played tennis for almost just as long (though from end of elementary school through high school). I also dabbled for a few years each in ballet, ice skating, tap dancing, Irish line dancing, precision jump roping (yes, this is a thing), and horseback riding. For 3 years in high school, I also ran a season of cross country (until I was taken out by knee injury senior year).
Having neurosurgery didn’t help with my motor skills, and I was clumsier than ever. I had to regain my gross motor skills as well as my fine motor skills, beginning with simple motions of moving my fingers and relearning how to stand unassisted, to using eating utensils and walking. The human brain seems to have a miraculous ability to learn certain things, and I was hobbling around after a few days (though only few feet at a time), and I was able to use my chopsticks to bring my daily bowl of noodles to my mouth (I was unable to digest much else, always nauseous from the drugs).
I had never liked running. I ran Cross Country in high school for the first 3 years, even making the Varsity Team for a little while (but it was mostly because we didn’t have enough runners to fill it up), but I hated most moments of it (except maybe when I was crossing the finish line in a 5K race). I ran Cross Country not because I wanted to, but because I needed to prepare for the Tennis season in the spring. I played tennis a few times a week at a private clinic over the winter season, when I did not play a sport at school, but during the fall, my parents decided that it was better for me to run to keep in shape, and only take one or two lessons a week. Given I was in orchestra, taking private violin lessons weekly, and had a healthy load of AP classes, I don’t know how I managed to juggle my time. It probably helped that I had no social life whatsoever, so it wasn’t like I was not already spending majority of my time out of the classroom in front of my computer. My parents knew that if not forced via structured activities, I would remain sitting in front of the computer until I rotted into my chair.
In the beginning of this year, I made a conscious decision to lose weight and become more fit. I had been gaining weight progressively for the past few years, and had reached my maximum weight. I felt tired and heavy, and couldn’t fit into my clothes. I was basically becoming sick of myself and the body I lived in. So I decided to change it. Running was the exercise of choice for me, because other than a gym membership (it was dead cold this winter) of $10/month, I could do it without equipment or classes. I did consider kickboxing and yoga (tried once), but in the end, the most convenient fell down to running; first in the gym, and then outside when weather started getting nicer. (But let’s get real: this is NYC, so it was 25 degrees few days ago. In April.)
In March, I registered for The Aneurysm and AVM Foundation’s Annual 5K Walk in San Francisco. That was what tipped off a ripple. Once I made the decision to enter the walk and buy airplane tickets, I began chatting with The Aneurysm and AVM Foundation’s outreach personnel, and made a snap decision that I’m going to become a runner, and run actual races. Not “in a few years,” not “when I’m ready,” but this year, and A LOT OF MILES, to boot. This was where Steps for Burgundy: My 25 Race Mile Challenge for AVM Awareness came about. I am working on fundraising aspect, but I want to focus on the “awareness” aspect of the running for this year.
I will be running at least 25 miles in races for 2016, and starting out with 17.7 registered miles by the end of June. Throughout the year (and hopefully for many years to come!), I will be blogging about my running and my races with photos and videos, and lots of enthusiasm. I can’t wait to have a tangible way of spreading awareness, while being excited for getting back into shape, because I’m sick and tired of feeling so sick and tired all the time!
I just ran my first 4 Mile Race a week ago, and it was AMAZING! I had never ran a 4 mile race before, even when I did Cross Country, and in the past decade, I hadn’t ran more than 2 or 3 miles outside at a time. Somehow, I did pretty alright for a beginner runner (10:42 minutes / mile time for 4 miles), and had a lot of fun with my best friend. READ MY POST WITH PHOTOS AND VIDEO HERE:
The Facebook Page for Steps for Burgundy is running along as well (in case you want to follow us… wink wink): http://facebook.com/StepsForBurgundy
I recently read and enjoyed an autobiography by Haruki Murakami, on being a runner (he is a marathon runner and triathelon). It was inspiring, and lifted my spirits before my first 4 Mile race. You can read a sample below, if you’re looking into running like I am.
What inspirations have you had recently to create a goal and stick with it?