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02/28/2010

Columbus is for Runners

There weren't even 50 people in that race. When I lived in my hometown of Chesaning, Michigan, I was an avid walker. When my 10-year-old twin daughters were small, I would bundle them up and toss them into the double stroller with a bag of Cheerios and a sippy cup and off we would go, bright and early in the morning. When my 6-year-old daughter was born, we bought a treadmill because it seemed just a bit more practical than a triple stroller that would accommodate two preschoolers and a baby. I put the baby in the sling and walked on the treadmill while the preschoolers played nearby. (Safety disclaimer: I do a lot of unsafe things with my kids that people shouldn't do. I don't think we're supposed to walk on the treadmill with a baby in a sling, so don't do that.) 

Shortly after we moved to Columbus in 2006, I grew bored of walking, so I started running. My first race was the Columbus Turkey Trot 5 Miler, which my Michigander friend Mechelle convinced me to run. She and her kids came down to Columbus and we ran it together. And by "together" I mean, she ran it twice as fast as I did, but that's ok because she won a pumpkin pie! And we had endorphins to help us cook the Thanksgiving meal! And the next year, we both won a pie! I was officially hooked on racing.

I'm strictly a back-of-the-pack racer in the style of John Bingham, so when I say I was hooked on racing, I really mean I was hooked on occasionally getting out there with thousands of people, knowing there's a good friend in the pack, looking forward to great post-race food, drink, and camaraderie. I'm all about the post-race party, not personal bests and all that. Unless, of course, running a personal best means being rewarded with pie. In that case, I might try extra hard to run a little less slowly. There are a lot of things I would do for pie.

Training for that first race got me off of the treadmill and onto the excellent trails in Columbus. These days, I log a lot of slow and steady miles on the paved surface of the Olentangy Trail. In fact, when my husband and I decided to buy a house, we chose one in large part because the trail is right outside the door. So convenient!

With the help of the trail, I've run a few more Turkey Trots, the Nationwide Better Health Columbus 1/2 Marathon, the Capital City 1/2 Marathon, the Run for the Jug 5K, and the Shamrock Shuffle 10K, which was both my favorite and least favorite race. It was my favorite because that's where I won an awesome "Top 50 Finisher" beer glass, but it was my least favorite because I prefer to race with thousands of people and my prize proves that there were less than 50 people running that 10K.

For me, the best part of racing is the post-race party at my house. I like to play hostess on a regular day, but I especially like to play hostess when I have race endorphins helping me so I can hop up and refill wine glasses and fetch beer from the garage. Don't worry, I make sure everybody is re-hydrated before they drink any alcohol. I'm super responsible that way.

Last year, my cousins, sister, and sister-in-law came from Michigan and West Virginia to stay with me and run their very first 1/2 marathon right here in Columbus. They must be hooked now because they're all planning to come back this year for the Capital City 1/2 Marthon and Commit to be Fit 5K on May 1st. I'm looking forward to celebrating with them, as well as any locals who might wander over for the post-race party. I'm sticking with the 5K this year, and I know my endorphins will be running high enough so I'll be able to carry enough beer in from the garage refrigerator to keep all of the runners and spectators satisfied.

When Abby Aldrich isn't schlepping beer in from her garage, she writes for her blog, Sundays with Stretchy Pants and oversees her kids' review/anything goes blog, Kids Know Stuff.

This is an original Ohio Moms Blog post.

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