I started running about this time last year. My son decided he wanted to run in his elementary school’s 5k fundraiser. Up until this time, I had never really run before. Not since high school anyway, and quite frankly, I took the C in gym so I didn’t have to run. It was a fair trade off in my opinion.

So when my kiddo first brought this up, after my husband and I got over our shock that he wanted to do anything that resembled actual exercise, I said, “Great! Daddy’s run marathons. He’d love to run it with you. Right, dear?” My husband’s response wasn’t what I was hoping for. He told me that he had signed on to marshal the course and couldn’t run with our son. My little manipulator – I mean, child – looked up at me with the puppy dog eyes and I found myself agreeing to run a 5k.

Me. Who doesn’t like to be uncomfortable. Me.

I downloaded the Couch to 5k app, which was extremely helpful, dumped a ton of money on shoes for both of us and hoped for the best – or at least, a finish. My son was then plagued all month by injuries. He got bit by a spider, which swelled his ankle and he couldn’t run. When he recovered from that, he sprained his ankle and couldn’t run. So he had very little training. I kept going.

Despite my son’s lack of training, we still “ran” the race. I had lovely visions of crossing the finish line together with my boy and celebrating our accomplishment. In hindsight, I should have shared this vision with said boy as about 50 yards before the finish line, he and his friend decided to sprint it out using a higher octane fuel than I had left in the tank and smoked me. Kodak moment shattered.

But I continued to run. My sister-in-law asked me if I wanted to run a 10-miler with her in October. Because she must have gotten me while I was I don’t know, drunk or asleep, I apparently agreed. Why? I don’t know because I don’t like running.

That’s right. I don’t like running, and yet, I said I’d run a 10-miler. While training for it, my husband said, “If you can run 10 miles, you can run 13.” The Richmond half marathon and marathon were a mere four weeks after the 10-miler. So I signed up.

Why? I don’t know because I don’t like running.

But I trained for these races. I brought our Siberian Husky with me, who loved running – correction. I run. She trots jovially along next to me and hardly works at all because I shuffle along at a 14 minute miler. But she gives me what I need: frequent stops. My fluffy little friend stops often to go to the bathroom and gives me just enough time to catch my breath and stretch my muscles a bit.

Friends look at me like I’m crazy because this most definitely messes up my time. But I don’t run for time. I don’t even run to clear my head like so many others claim running does for them. And I certainly don’t run because I enjoy it. Because I don’t.

I run because I can’t deny that it makes me feel great inside. I breathe easier and that’s valuable to me, as it should be to everyone. I can’t deny that it’s an effective form of exercise.

I finished the 10-miler in 2 hours, 7 minutes and the half in 3 hours, 8 minutes. What did I learn?

I’m a 10k girl. My ankles were in so much pain after both those races that it was days before I could put weight on them and not bite my lip in agony. Because of this little side effect, I took the winter off.

That’s right. I took the winter off from running. I sure did. I don’t like running.  So why on earth would I do it in the cold? I got the insurance on the half because what if it rained? If I don’t like running, why would I do it in the cold and rain? I was fully prepared to have trained all that time and then not run the actual race at the risk of being even more uncomfortable than running already made me. Treadmills make my ankles hurt, so I took the winter off.

But now it’s that time of year again and I’m registered for a 10k at the end of March, so it’s time to get back out there.

Only it snowed last week and my trails are covered. So I’m starting a little later than planned.