a companion blog to the SHU box, featuring official BlogHer review program posts.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

a roundabout journey to 26.2

This is a sponsored post from Disney and BlogHer.

when i was contacted about writing a post about overcoming an obstacle in honor of the new disney film secretariat, several options came to mind.

i could write about the decision to go to medical school, and about the work it took to get where i am today in my career.

i could write about continuing to write about my life daily (at my main site, the SHU box) in the face of mucho time constraints (especially during those residency years!).

but really? neither of those feats would surprise those who have known me since childhood. i'm a nerd at heart (with slightly OCD tendencies) who always loved to write and who never minded sticking her nose into books -- even of the text variety, if it was important for a grade.

however, i am pretty sure that no one expected this girl to become a runner.

no -- i spent my formative years as a cheerleader, and not a very good one at that. this photo was taken during middle school on halloween night -- i figured that my uniform would make for a convenient 'costume', and besides, i was immensely proud of it.

when high school finally came around (and i lost those ridiculous glasses), my cheerleading became more of an athletic pursuit and less of a costume party. we didn't just cheer at the sidelines of games; we competed, and i actually ended up enjoying it a great deal.

still, though -- i had athlete envy. friends that i had who played field hockey or soccer would jeer that cheerleading wasn't a real sport. while i had no desire to grab a stick and compete with them on the field (court? uhh . . . yeah, you can see why i stuck to back handsprings and dance moves), there was one breed of athlete that i often sized up from afar with a wistful admiration . . .

the runners. oh, the runners! not only was my HUGE UPPERCLASSMAN CRUSH on the cross-country team, but the girls clad in their shimmery spandex always looked so healthy, fit, and happy. i thought about joining the track or cross-country team each fall, but always backed out, fearing that i could never run as far or as fast, and rationalizing that it wouldn't mesh well with the cheer schedule, anyway.

so i never did it. sure, i might have hit the treadmill for 20 minutes or so as a teenager, trying to get in shape. and when i went to college, i finally figured out that the trick to improving my endurance was to SL-O-O-O-W down and build up my mileage gradually. but it wasn't until i met josh (medical school classmate who became my boyfriend who became my husband ) that i really started to view myself as a runner.

josh taught me that with a little planning and a lot of perseverance (and sweat), anyone can become a runner -- even tackling distances that i never dreamed of! it turned out that running is a sport that fits my previously mentioned OCD-ish tendencies like a glove: training plans ignite a fire within me, and yet each run is a relaxing trip away from it all. racing is a chance to just break free and do something without having to be perfect -- because i'm only competing against myself!

fast forward a mere 17 years from the cheerleading picture, and you see me, running my 4th marathon.

clad in spandex that are all my own

i never said it became EASY . . .

but it certainly has become one of the most rewarding pursuits in my life.

and no, i'm not just talking about the post-race burrito!

though that was pretty rewarding in its own right as well.

so there you have it: a journey from ragamuffin cheerleader to marathoner. if i can do it (did you SEE those glasses!?), anyone can.

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this post was written as part of the BlogHer reviewers program. check out the BlogHer.com special offers page for a chance to win a $100 VISA gift card from the BlogHer company (official rules here).

more information on the film secretariat (in theaters friday, october 8th!) can be found here, and you can check out the associated facebook and twitter pages as well. and you can see even more on youtube.

what is an obstacle that you have overcome that might surprise your middle school classmates? or, equally as important, what would you buy with a $100 gift card?? feel free to share in the comments!