If my Running had a birth certificate, "Place of birth" would be followed by "Royal Commonwealth Pool, Edinburgh."
While in Edinburgh, we took a couple miles of walking detour (the day after the Edinburgh Marathon... Boyfriend is a SAINT) to go see the place where my running journey started. Behind those large glass windows is a row of treadmills where sometime in late 2001 I ran the following workout: Run 90 seconds, walk 90 seconds, repeat 7 times.
It was hard to run for 90 seconds straight. Really hard. It probably took me half a year, but I built up from that start to 20 minutes of consecutive running. 20 consecutive minutes. I was overjoyed and couldn't believe it when I got there. By the time I left Edinburgh 10 years ago, I was probably up to about 25 minutes or so of consecutive running.
The person on the Commonwealth treadmills wore cotton t-shirts and socks. She wore athletic shoes picked purely for their aesthetic value versus support or functionality. Completing a 5K one day seemed like an impossible pipe dream. She didn't know about fueling or foam rolling or speed work. She didn't know what PR, BQ, and DNF stood for. She didn't know anything about running, but she knew she liked to push her limits and see how much more she could accomplish the next day.
Since then, I've run thousands of miles and finished 34 marathons. When I ran at Commonwealth I didn't even really consider myself to be a runner yet but I was well on my way. I don't think the person who ran on those treadmills knew what she was getting herself into, but I'm so thankful for the start I got there.
Two of my good friends recently put up posts that perfectly sum up all the things running means to me. Check them out here and here. They said everything I wanted to say in this post. I suppose it started as exercise, but running means so much more to me than that now; It has filled my life with so many wonderful opportunities, people, places, insights, and memories.
It was an interesting experience to return to the place it all started. And when I was there I didn't even know where that start line would finish one day.