Momma always did say I was hard headed. And it’s true. Pretty much and historically, the quickest way to get me to do something is to either a) tell me I can’t do it or b) forbid me to do it. I’m not saying it’s necessarily always a character value, or that it’s always served me well. But in some cases, my doggedness and tenacity has taken me to some exciting destinations.
Without some steely determination, I would not have been able to create a successful small business, have three babies in four years and not get carted to Terrell State Hospital, get a second master’s degree and professional license, and lose half my body weight. And that was just in my thirties, folks. Hey, it ain’t bragging if you can do it.
Something I can do now that my behind is a little less wide is move it a little more effectively. I found walking outside wasn’t so bad when you’re not carrying extra pounds. And in 2011, I started running. It was really a case of peer pressure. I met some running buddies via my computer, and suddenly I was being told a fun outing was a morning 5K followed very closely by mimosas and breakfast.
That I run now is really unusual. I come from a family of people who largely consider keeping the furniture from floating off the floor is as active as we get. We are a sedentary people on the whole. As a college student, I joked I would jog, but it would foam up my beer. My walking consisted largely of the path between the couch and fridge. But the running buddies seemed to really enjoy running, I enjoyed them, and if there was champagne at the end, I was game.
That first 5K was hard. But I got a t shirt and something else: a feeling of accomplishment. The ability to say, “Hey, remember when we ran that 5K,” all breezy-like. Soon running buddies were saying they were absolutely certain I could finish a 10K…and last December, I did exactly that with them at my side. Going slower than they can as I practically wore my lungs on the outside of my body.
So what was I to do when running buddy asked me casually last weekend, “So…you gonna run the Dallas Half Marathon?” Followed by what was, for me, a pregnant pause. In that moment, my brain yelled “He’s Calling You Soft, You Big Loser!” Of course he thought nothing of the like. (My superego can be a bit shouty.) And cue the internal battle: could I do it? Maybe I could do it! It occurred to me that running buddy asked because he…gasp!…actually believe I could pull off a thirteen mile run.
Could I really run for, like, two and a half hours? Running buddy assures me I can. And for some unfathomable reason, I pulled the trigger. For complex reasons probably surrounding approval and performance issues, I signed up. On December 8, I will, presumptively, be running 13.1 miles of downtown Dallas. I say that I am, although there is a hefty portion of my brain that wonders more than a little if this middle-aged body can pull it off.
Now for the part where you come in, dear reader: I’m not running this half marathon just for myself. Nah, if I’m gonna hurt, it should be for a great cause. I need y’all to hold me accountable to finish this monster race. So I’m running to raise awareness of one of our great community service agencies in town: Community Lifeline Center. They provide emergency crisis service: they can pay rent, bills, for medicine, provide foot and necessities and even mental health counseling to help people when things go wrong.
Sponsor me! Together we can do some good…and you don’t even have to get up from in front of your computer. I’ll do all the sweating for you. Go to communitylifeline.org wherever you are and click on the big “Donate Now” button. Even twenty bucks feeds a family, guys. A fire, a job loss, a sudden illness or injury…you never know when you might be in a crisis yourself and need just a little help while it passes. Make a difference.
And for your pleasure, I will document the journey of a harried, slightly overweight mother of three with a dubious left hip as she overcomes her fear of passing out in the streets of Dallas when it’s not Saint Patrick’s Day or a particularly interesting night in Deep Ellum. Maybe, just maybe, I’ll inspire you to set a goal for yourself. One that you think just might be out of reach. And we do-gooders can celebrate together when I reach the finish line.