I have legs.
Most people do.
Mine are 41 years old and carrying me around pretty darn well.
For the last 7 years, they have carried me around at a faster pace than they had before.
I started running when I was 33 years old as a way to get into shape for a ski trip I was going on.
I ran a 5k, then a 15k three weeks later. The day after I finished that 15k, I registered for a marathon.
I got bit.
Now, I was extremely slow. The first race I did, I came in last.
The 15k I ran just under 15 minute miles. I walk faster than than now.
But, as I continued running, I got stronger and faster.
I placed in a few races in my age group, climbing up to 2nd in one race.
But what I got most of is this. Confidence.
I started believing I could do things that were athletic. I grew up not playing sports. I played outside a lot, climbing trees and making forts. I never really learned swim strokes and definitely never dove. My family spent a lot of time outside as well, hiking all over the southwest. But I never played any sports other than youth group volley ball and kickball.
In my twenties, I joined gyms and did step aerobics.
So, when I married my hyper active husband, I started having to do stuff.
We rollerbladed all over St. Louis. We walked our dogs miles and miles to get ice cream.
HE played roller hockey, ice hockey and was on a crew team.
Once my kids were born, I decided I want to be a fit mom.
One who can pick large things up and run after balls, kids, dogs, etc.
I also decided at 39 to be a better swimmer.
But at 33 is when I became an athlete. I trained for and ran a very painful marathon.
Since then I have run many 5k race, several 10k races and 5 half marathons. Last year I ran three legs of a race between Chattanooga and Nashville.
I fall in and out of love with running. But I always come back. I like how I feel when I finish a run. I like how my mind wanders and my head clears when I am out running. I like that when I hit the gym, can lift more than double my body weight and I have strong abs, all due to running.
I am running my last relay race next month. My team is a fun group of misfits that all are runners.
We share war stories of plantar faciitis, shin splints, dogs bites and best times.
All of us are athletes.
I am grateful for that first race I did and also for all the runs since. But mostly I am thankful for healthy legs which carry me around.