BethAnn Boxes for Bloggers GLB
  • By goodluckbox
  • In Blog
  • Posted October 20, 2016

Boxes for Bloggers Winner – BethAnn Whittaker

Before age 23 I was never a runner. I never ran track in high school, and I never went out for a run just for fun. When it was time for cardio, running wasn’t even in my repertoire.

To be honest, running had always been a form of punishment! My softball and tennis coaches used to make us run laps when we were late to practice. They made us run laps if we missed a ball or had a bad attitude after losing a game. I hated running! It was hard, it made my lungs burn, and I wasn’t very good at it.

After college I started a career in healthcare and one of my coworkers mentioned that she actually enjoyed running more now as an adult.  “It’s hard to play sports after college”, she said.  “I was always in shape in school because of lacrosse, but if I sign up for an adult league it’s usually just socializing and drinking beer. Running is really the only sport you can do as an adult that’s competitive and fun, but also keeps you in shape.” Her idea really hit home for me. I was tired of the softball beer leagues. You didn’t have to rely on a league to run; you just needed a pair of shoes.

My husband ran cross country in high school and continued running long distance races as an adult…”just for fun”. He spent years trying to convince me to run too. I preferred to attend his races as a spectator. I would bring a book and some McDonalds breakfast and look up just in time to cheer loudly as he passed by.

“Just run a 5k with me!” he would say. “It’s just 3 miles.  It will be fun!”

Me: “Seriously, let me remind you that running is not fun. Also, using the word ‘just’ when describing that many miles is simply not appropriate. Besides, the only way I would even entertain the idea is if you treated me to a Big Mac afterwards.”

Husband: “OK, we’ll get Big Macs afterwards.”

That’s all it took. I started training for this 5k.

I prepared for a few weeks and we signed up for a race that benefited a local elementary school. I was nervous at the start line. My husband was very supportive and kept telling me that I should be proud of myself for getting this far. I rolled my eyes in an effort to appear nonchalant, and thought of that Big Mac waiting for me at the finish line.

At the sound of the gun, I started to run. I had a burst of adrenaline and excitement that caused me to start out too fast. Rookie mistake! I was exhausted by the first mile. I had to walk a few times and I was embarrassed. This never happened in training! Why was this so hard?? I was discouraged and tired as I lagged behind my goal pace.

Small children passed me…effortlessly.

A very visibly pregnant woman passed me…with perfect form and not even a bead of sweat anywhere on her glowing skin.

I was in awe of the other runners. I was DYING…but they made it look so easy.

I pushed onward. I struggled every mile, but when I crossed the finish line my husband greeted me with a huge sweaty hug.

Husband: “Great job!! You did it!! How do you feel??”

Me: “Ughhhh…I’m never doing that again! That was awful!”

But inside I was kind of proud that I trained for and finished my first race. Even if it was “just” a 5k. I had earned that Big Mac!

It didn’t take long before we signed up for our next race. I mean…I had to at least correct my rookie mistakes, right?

Here I am 8 years later and I’ve raced distances from the 5k to the marathon.  I’ve run through four pregnancies and have eagerly returned postpartum pushing a single, double, or triple jogging stroller. I’ve developed a passion for running. It is my release after a long stressful day, or even a way to start the day off with a clear head. It is something I can enjoy by myself, or with a friend, or with my kids. The running community is vast and welcoming. We’re always trying to convince non-runners to join our crazy team! We cheer for and encourage total strangers; runners encompass the very best parts of the human spirit.

Every runner has their story. Some of us start as elite athletes with natural speed and agility. Some of us start in an effort to kick off a weight loss journey. Some of us start because we need an outlet after a stressful or tragic life event. My story simply started when someone promised me a Big Mac. Although my diet has improved drastically over the last 8 years…I’m so grateful for what lead me to that Big Mac!

I was never a runner, but I became one! It’s easy to do…you just have to start running one day.?

-BethAnn Whittaker

This story can also be found on her newly public blog: www.liveloverunrepeat.wordpress.com

 

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