Lizzie and I used to say that the only way we would run was if someone was chasing us…and if he was cute, then we might just walk really fast.
We were – I’m sorry to say – the girls who drove by someone running on the street, slowed down, and screamed, “Hey! Are you in a hurry? We can give you a ride!” I can still hear Lizzie’s voice in my head as she put her foot on the gas and lit up her cigarette: “I just don’t GET those people!”
So, it’s absolutely ironic that Lizzie is the reason that I run.
My very first blog recipe post was all about Liz and our unlikely friendship. Liz lost her battle with breast cancer back in December of 2009. The following April, I participated in my first Race for the Cure 5K as part of an effort to honor Liz’s memory.
I made it just 1 mile in 11 minutes and then I had to walk the rest of the way. I guiltily picked up the pace at the end and jogged through the finish. It was an awful way to honor a friend, but I couldn’t quite figure out why I felt so badly about it. After all, I wasn’t a runner – how could I even expect myself to suddenly run 3.1 full miles? And then it came to me: Lizzie couldn’t run.
Liz couldn’t run. Lizzie couldn’t run or jump or play or laugh or smile anymore because she was gone. And in realizing this, I realized that I needed to run because Liz couldn’t. I needed to jump, play, laugh, and smile because Liz couldn’t anymore. I needed to live because Lizzie couldn’t.
Over the next several months, I taught myself to run. I did my first 5K that October and slowly built my way up to longer distances and faster times. I ran my first half-marathon on my 36th birthday at Disney World:
…and another one a month later:
I’m currently training for the Chicago Marathon and I will tell you that I already get teary thinking about running my first marathon through the city that I love endlessly.
But even with all of the good that running has brought into my life in terms of fitness, friendship, and reward, Liz is always at the core. I think of her every time I lace up my shoes and every time I cross a finish line.
And the funny thing is that when I picture her, she is always rolling her eyes at me. Lizzie would never approve of my running in her honor. I’m sure she would rather me have a stiff cocktail instead…or several. But for me, running is living.
I’m not just running for you, Lizzie – I’m living for you, too.
Note: Kitchenpants! is still a recipe blog…but I can’t ignore my other love: running. Look at the Runningpants! section for run-friendly recipes and insight.