From Rock Bottom, To The Highest Mountain Top

Back in 2006 I got the urge to take my once-a-year month-of-running and turn it into a thing and trained for my first 5K. ALL on a treadmill. I did it, I didn’t die, and then thought What’s next? I found out we had a half marathon a few months away and decided I’d train for that. I finally braved some outdoor runs, my longest being 10 miles. I still remember that day – running 10 miles – it was HUGE. Not as huge as the first day I ran 5 miles (I rewarded myself with a soak in the YMCA jacuzzi I was so proud) but still – DOUBLE DIGITS. Unfortunately, that was the longest run I ever did and my base wasn’t that great and my weekday running was almost non-existant so come race day? I was not really ready.

I showed up at Hillwood Baptist Church for the start. I was TERRIFIED. I had Nike running tights, but everything else was cotton. I had no idea what I was doing. I didn’t even know we got medals! I was listening to two women talk before and they were talking about getting medals and I thought WAIT. I GET A MEDAL?

The race was SUPER small. I paced myself horribly and at mile 9 I was upset because I felt alone, hated the whole thing, and I was kinda crying when I saw my family waiting to cheer me on in the rain. I ended up walking the majority of the last 3 miles in the cold drizzle. The “sweeper car” that was the police car that followed the last runner, he was behind me for awhile when I was jog-walking. But then when I dedicated myself more to walking? He passed me, which was oddly depressing.

But I did it. I got my medal. I went on to do another half-marathon (which went about the same) and then a full-marathon (which went MUCH WORSE, I only ran about 8 miles of the whole thing) and then ACTUALLY CLAIMED to give up running. Seriously. I said, OUT LOUD, “Running is just not my thing.”

Then I had ANOTHER miscarriage (worst. hobby. ever.) and then (THANKFULLY) had another baby. Then my Dad got cancer and died. I stuffed my face to calm the sadness and ballooned up to my highest non-pregnant self ever. I started a women-only boot camp, got some confidence back, and in 2011 – 5 years after my FIRST attempt at the Huntsville Half Marathon – I raced it again with the help of a Fleet Feet training program. It went WORLD’S better and I’ve been running every since.

Today I run that same race for the FIFTH time. It’s amazing how much my life has changed since my first attempt in 2006. I don’t know if I would know the girl racing today. In 2006 that girl knew NO ONE except her family. Today I go and will be surrounded by friends. The race directors are 2 of my mentors. I’ll know volunteers and spectators and racers at every corner. These people are my family. I never knew how much my life was missing without them, but I’m so glad for every single one of them.

Gotta love personal notes on your race bibs. This is why I #runlocal.
Gotta love personal notes on your race bibs. This is why I #runlocal.

I hurt my toe a few weeks ago, probably broke it. It’s cramped my running quite a bit and just decided I was up to 90% last weekend. I’m not going to try to PR, I’m just going to run today like a training run for my 50K next week. But my heart will be happy as I’m surrounded by people I love. I wish I could stop the Kim of 2006 at mile 9 when she hated everything about that race and running and tell her – Hang in there, beautiful. You have a few rough patches ahead of you. Some rougher than others. But in 5 years you’ll come back and race this again with proper training and with some new friends. That race will start you on a new path and every year you do this race after, you’ll be surrounded by new people you love. You feel alone now, but you won’t for long. This race will hold a very special and lovingly warm place in your heart. You’re crying now, but years down the road this race, and these people, will bring you so much joy, you won’t ever believe it ever made you this miserable.

2 thoughts on “From Rock Bottom, To The Highest Mountain Top”

  1. This was the day I met you. I was running the 5k by myself after doing Cotton Row and Big Spring Jam with friends and it was my third ever race. You made me feel less alone even though we’d just met IRL and were doing different races. Thank you for that. Good luck today!

  2. I was just telling Donnie about that! He didn’t remember there was a 5K and I told him that the only reason why I remembered was that I had met you there and you were doing it. I also remember partly considering joining you and ditching my race all together 🙂

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