Hell must have frozen over. It was that cold outside.
And I was running.
In fact, that’s how I knew that hell must have frozen over.
Me. Running. Outside. Temperature 30 degrees.
Back before I was a runner I thought runners always enjoyed running.
Even if was cold. Or raining. Or they were having a bad day.
I thought they were born with a running gene that made them love it no matter what.
I was not born with that gene.
I was born with the sit on the coach and watch TV gene.
At least, that’s what I thought.
And then I started running.
Well, walking with some slow running added in for good measure.
I called it running anyway.
And I kept at it.
Eventually, I started running more.
I ran 5k’s, 10k’s and then a marathon.
But I still didn’t love running all the time.
Especially when it was cold outside.
I made a rule. Under 50 degrees outside and I was not going to run.
And then, a couple of my friends and I started a running group.
We created the group for women, and a few men, who wanted to run, had dabbled in running, but didn’t see themselves as runners.
Women who wanted support but were scared to run in a group.
We called it novice running.
Except some of them had been running for years.
And they walked sometimes.
And they didn’t always go fast.
But they wanted to go more.
And they didn’t want to do it alone.
They wanted support. They wanted encouragement. They wanted motivation.
And they didn’t want to be last.
Didn’t want to get left behind.
The first day we started they were scared.
They all said the exact same thing. They were slow. Just a beginner. No really, a beginner, beginner. And really, really slow.
Once a week for the entire summer they showed up.
No one got left behind. No one was too slow to for this group.
In the fall, they decided they wanted to do a marathon relay. As a team.
So they signed up together.
And ran together.
Crossed the finish line together.
No one was left behind.
It was amazing to be a part of.
To feel like in some small way help we helped them to start believing in themselves.
To help them see themselves as runners.
And then winter rolled around.
And it started to get cold.
I wanted to cancel the group runs.
But they wouldn’t let me.
They wanted to keep running. Even though it was cold and snowing and dark. They didn’t want to stop.
They wanted to meet every week. As a group. And run. And walk. Together.
It wasn’t safe. It was dark. Someone could get hurt.
They made a rule. Everyone stays in a group of three.
They wouldn’t let me make excuses.
They brought flashlights and headlamps.
And kept showing up.
So there I was. Running. In the cold.
Even thought I wasn’t born with the running gene.
Even though I hate the cold.
I showed up.
Because they did.
The women I wanted to inspire, inspired me to run.
What could be cooler than that?
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