Then my former roomie talked me into a half-marathon.
I ran about six more after that.
Then I got tired.
For awhile, running was good exercise and a good, healthy way to burn off stress.
It was an early morning routine, or a nice evening jog.
When I got Grover, it was a free, easy way to burn off his unending energy and chewing. He's easily distracted and not too good at running in a straight line, so he was interval training. We'd run as fast as I could for a few minutes, then walk, then sprint, then walk, until one of us couldn't take it anymore.
Once we moved here, things started to change.
Grover had a pup friend in Moxie and they could play in the yard and entertain each other. We still went for runs together though, until he broke his back and now I worry too much to take him running.
Living in town for a few months, it wasn't hard to walk out the front door, run a mile or so and hit the trail.
But out here in the country, it's tougher.
M mowed a path around the fields for me once but I'm so terrified of snakes and the ground is uneven, it was just miserable.
Running on our road is nuts, since it's 70 mph, with one lane each direction, almost no shoulder, and I imagine snakes in the grass off the road.
So basically, I stopped running since it took more effort to get up earlier, drive to the trail, drive home and somehow managing to get to work on-time-ish.
M assembled the treadmill last fall and it gave me less excuses to avoid running, other than hating the treadmill.
But slowly, oh so slowly, I'm getting back into it.
First it was slow runs on the treadmill while catching up on tv shows I never get to watch. Then it was longer run/walks while watching silly girl movies I've seen a million times.
Once the weather got better, it was Gidget's turn to be my running buddy and we hit the trail.
A friend talked me into a 5-mile race in April, then another friend talked me into a 10K in May and another 10K last weekend.
All of a sudden, I feel like I might have another half marathon left in me.
Don't get me wrong, I don't actually enjoy running.
My left knee is starting to ache more often, a nagging back injury flares up sometimes and those two years off the running wagon resulted in added pounds that are proving harder to lose than I'm happy to admit. (I'm not giving up wine, so pass the carrots please)
But, when I first got back on that treadmill with the full intention of getting back in shape, I hated it.
Running more than 30 minutes felt like torture.
Now, albeit almost a year later, I don't mind spending an hour on the treadmill or the trail in the morning and 4 miles is my new norm, even if I walk part of it.
Saturday morning, this happened.
I'm certainly no faster than I was when I started, but I dig in, power through and get to whatever goal I set for myself on most runs now.
Sometimes, it just sucks and it's too hot, or I'm too tired, or too something and I don't push since I'd rather just have a bad run than hurt myself. Plus, I know, a better run is in my future.
Like the 10K I ran with a friend last weekend and we didn't stop and cut 7 minutes off our time from the 10K we ran the month before. I had planned to make it at least 3 miles without a break, but made it all 6.2, minus a few minutes for a water break and that was it.
It might have been that my race number turned out to be 406, as pictured above. I was so excited about it, I skipped.
406 is Montana's one and only area code and the core of about half of the state's marketing efforts. So registering at the last minute that morning worked in my favor.
We also made friends with a fellow slow runner who happens to be an agriculture expert on the weekly Montana call-in agriculture show that M and I watch regularly. She's a Montana-version celebrity.
Running wasn't fun to me when I was running half marathons and it's certainly not fun now that I'm years older, but it's one of those things that is solely within my control and there's something incredibly satisfying about recognizing the progress you've made through sheer force of will.
There are two marathons this fall I've got my eye on, I'll keep you posted. Plus, a glass or two of wine is the perfect reward for a good, long run, so there's a calorie-math victory right there.