I come from a family of geniuses. My running joke is that if I’m good they let me set the table pretty. I am the oldest of four children, born to parents who are still, 33 years later, happily married (and sometimes disgustingly so). One of the many differences between me and the rest of my family is that I seem to be the only one who did not get the running gene. I briefly gave it a half-hearted shot in junior high, but I was much more interested in aesthetics; always content with music, dance, food, and decorating the world in various ways.
My father is a cross country coach and was president of his local running club in Pennsylvania. He has been running for forty years, including 22 marathons (7 Bostons) and several 100-mile ultra marathons (including something ominously called the Canadian Death Race just last year). My mother has also been running for most of her life, often alongside my father, and ran her first marathon- the Marine Corps in DC- when she was 48. One brother ran the Dublin marathon and the other has run two 50K trail races. My sister has run seven marathons, including the Marine Corps, New York, and Cape Cod.
I will be running my first 5K tonight on the Katy Trail in Dallas, Texas.
When my Texan and I first started dating seriously and I flew to Dallas to visit, he took me to Luke’s Locker to get a real pair of running shoes, my first pair since college. We went for a short run on the Katy Trail and although my body was in a bit of shock, it was nice to get out of New York City and breathe in some fresh air. Back home I only ran when trying to catch a train or a cab and that was wearing 4-inch heels. But after my Dallas visit I starting running through the streets of Astoria, Queens whenever I got the chance, which wasn’t often, and when I did I loved it. I started to think that maybe I did have that gene after all. When nightly talks with my Texan got to the point where we were discussing a life we would have together in Dallas, runs and walks on the Katy Trail were often mentioned.
The weather since I moved here last November has been perfect for running (I know this will change soon), and with my constant traveling and drastic lifestyle changes since leaving New York it has been necessary to get outside and get some exercise. It has been good for my body and also my mind as I’ve worked through so many of these changes in my head while on the trail. I have been grateful for the West Village entrance only a few blocks from my new home and have used it at least several times a week over the last few months. We recently signed up to be Friends of the Katy Trail in appreciation of the park, and of course the Ice House is one of my favorite places in the city to meet up with friends.
The rest of my family signed up to run a marathon in Florida together in 2014. When I mentioned tonight’s 5K to my dad he informed me that if I increased my running by one mile a month, I would be ready to join them by then. I am not optimistic about that one, but who knows? Tonight you can watch me crawling towards the finish line in a desperate attempt to finish my first race. I will be number 614.
To all of the runners tonight, I give you some words of wisdom from my father, Coach Chobot in Reading, Pennsylvania:
“Just remember; the challenge of distance running stems from the inner conflict between mind, body, and spirit. Whenever the spirit (or soul or heart or whatever you want to call it) prevails, the runner has succeeded regardless of caliber of runner or difficulty of race. Running is the purest form of the celebration of the human spirit.”
I’ll see you on the Katy Trail.
Jayne is new to Dallas and discovering the city with a voracious appetite. You can follow her discoveries @JaynieMarie on Twitter, Foursquare, and Pinterest, and on her website A Moveable Appetency.