To most accurately tell it, I'd have to start back in 2005. At the time I was living in St. Louis and was probably the most miserable person in the world. Just ask my dad, he LOVES to tell the stories of how I supposedly called home every day (maybe just every other day, ok?) to cry and talk about how awful my job was (it seriously sucked) and how much I hated living there (as a person from Texas, I never came close to finding a niche in a town where so many people are lifelong residents and grew up with each other). My friends Kristen and Amy had signed up to run a half marathon in Indianapolis (only about a 3 hour drive away) months before but they convinced me to come along and I signed up for the 5K. I figured I'd make life easier for myself and started "training". The "training" was also to kind of help with the fact that I was getting really fat. I was so poor from the aforementioned crappy job that I really only ate terrible food like $1 frozen pizzas, peanut butter and jelly sandwhiches and on days when I was really homesick for Mexican food, I'd splurge and eat Taco Bell. Wow... I was totally pathetic.
Anyway, I lived next to a really great park that had about a 6 mile loop around it so I started running for the first time since freshman/sophomore years in college. I don't think I ever actually ran the entire 6 miles but a couple of Sundays I'd do the entire loop in a run/walk combo. I felt ready for that 5K and I was gonna try to get a great time. At the last second, Kristen had work commitments so she ended up not coming. Almost as soon as I got to Indy, Amy and her brother started the assault to convince me to run the half marathon like they were. Since I can be utterly spineless sometimes and after all, it's only 13 miles, I agreed to it.
Looking back... what the hell was I thinking? I have come such a long way but back to that day. I was wearing some hideous New Balance kids tennis shoes that I'd probably had for 3 years and regular socks. Needless to say, I ended up with some fabulous blisters. I think I limped from mile 9 to the finish line with in all my torn foot glory. Somehow along the way, I was doing something weird with my right foot to compensate for one of the blisters and I ended up very sore. For about a week I was Limpy McGimperton. I have no idea what my finish time was but I'm sure it was well over three hours. I was proud of myself but had absolutely zero interest in getting into the distance racing game.
Two years later, I had just started working for United and I was ever-eager to show off my brand spankin' new flight benefits. Amy and her brother ran the Chicago Marathon that year and I decided to fly out for the day to cheer them on at the race.
For those who may not know, that was one of the hottest days in all of 2007 in Chicago. The high was something ridiculous in the 90's and several people died on the course before they ultimately shut it down. I was sweating out of my mind just standing and watching! After that day, I was in no big hurry to sign up for the '08 marathon, trust me.
Either way, I still had fun riding the CTA all over town. I ended up in Boystown (the gay area of Chicago) because I was relatively familiar with the area after my summer at flight attendant training (ah, good times in Boystown). I'm so looking forward to running through there tomorrow because those gays know how to cheer for marathon runners! It's notorious for being a blast to run through and after being on the other side last time, I can't wait.
Later on, I'll tell you more about how I decided to make this a goal for myself.