The First Miles

Why asking for support or help with your running and fitness pursuits is invaluable.  Plus, a reminder to encourage someone else and how it helps both of you.
                                               -   By Kathy Elliott

People like to talk about how they get through those ‘last miles’ of a long running event—what keeps them going during those moments that their bodies and minds desperately want to quit.

Another interesting question is how we get past those “first miles”, those tentative times on the track or trail or maybe the treadmill when we know we are beginners, no matter how easy everyone else can make it look.  I’m talking about those early miles, or even half miles when we really don’t have a clue about how our bodies going to respond.  And, after a few ‘first miles’, what brings us back to do it again?

As someone who has started (and then stopped) running over the years more times than I like to admit, I’ve had quite a few ‘first miles’.  My very first ones were when I showed up with my junior high pals to a Saturday ‘all comers’ track meet at the school in our Keds and bobby sox.

Perhaps the most memorable re-entry into running came, in my forties, when my then high school daughter was on the track team and having her own early running experiences.  She coached me on the improvements in shoes, and socks too, and asked some pertinent questions, such as, “How was your run?”   I searched for a word that wasn’t a synonym for ‘painful’.  I couldn’t imagine myself ever saying, “I had a great run!”

Looking back on all those ‘first miles’, I have to say that, for me, the start up always followed the invitation of a friend, or having a goal like being part of a team for a fundraising event.  I was just so glad I could keep up with the family or my running friends.  Somewhere along the line I recognized that I really could tell when I had a ‘great run’.   Now I know that it’s easier to stick with it after those discouraging ‘first miles’ if someone asks me how my run was, or comes up with an idea for where we could go for the next challenge.

Kathy, or Auntie K to me, currently lives in Portland, Oregon.  Running has been a huge part of her family's life.  In between Kathy's own 'first miles' and 'great runs', running has taken her all over the country.  Mostly, these travels are related to supporting friends and family on the course, but not all the time.  Just ask her about her experience running Hood to Coast, a 200-mile team relay race from Mt. Hood to the Oregon Coast, with her daughter, myself and three other young ladies.  Today, Kathy is successfully putting those first miles behind her again with the help of her favorite running coach, her daughter.