In just three months, I will be running in my first half marathon in Estes Park, Colo. You can read about how Nate and I are training to push not only ourselves across the finish line, but also our little nugget and his stroller, in another post. For now, let me tell you how I became a runner.

In high school, when friends mentioned joining the track or cross-country teams, I laughed. Why would I willingly subject myself to torture? To me, running was a means to an end or a punishment. It’s what you did to train for your sport or to satisfy an angry, eighth-grade coach who told your team to run until she got tired (it took a while, she was pretty energetic when we got started).

Can you imagine the calls a coach would get if they did that today? Ha.

Everything changed when I went to a Bible school in Sweden. With limited options for exercise, one being Shaun T’s Insanity videos (ouch), and with a rapidly widening waistline (too much fika), I took to running. I quickly discovered something hidden deep inside and totally surprising about myself: I loved running. Suddenly, the joy of jogging in the outdoors – passing through misty forests and along winding roads by open farmland – engulfed me.

I became a runner.

Running in the Mountains

Now, I didn’t suddenly become an avid and committed, daily runner, but I did start jogging more than ever before. I would pick it up on and off again for the next several years. I did a couple of 5ks in college. One was a Blacklight Run with my roommate. Covered in glowsticks and blacklight paint, we reached the end and joined in the mini, electro-pop rager that commenced. It was a blast.

Years later, while traveling America living out of the back of my 2000 Ford Explorer, I spent some time in Grand Tetons National Park. It became one of my favorite places in the world. When I learned that Vacation Races hosts a half marathon in the park each year, I decided I had to do it.

Near the end of 2019, I was determined that 2020 would be my year. Then, in December, I found out I was pregnant, and when I asked the doctor if it would be okay to run in a half marathon six months pregnant, he laughed. The timing actually worked out great considering everything ended up cancelled in 2020.

So, 2021 would be my year, for real this time! Unfortunately, the 2021 Grand Tetons Half Marathon was already sold out, and it’s on the same weekend as a family reunion in Nebraska, so I wouldn’t have been able to make it anyways. One day I will conquer those 13 majestic miles. 

One day, Grand Tetons, one day.

With that race (race feels like a strong word … maybe I should say ‘13-mile attempt-to-keep-moving’) off the table, we found another. The RMNP Half Marathon presents the perfect alternative for us because it’s only three hours away and my parents can come and be our failsafe in case we can’t push that stroller another mile or if Josiah gets cranky and uninterested. Plus, I love Estes Park and RMNP. It’s one of my favorite places in the whole world. 

In my postpartum journey, I decided that training for a half marathon would be a great way to get back in shape. And so, we signed up! We’re in it to win it, people! And by win it, I mean make it to the finish. I will keep you posted on our training journey. You can read more about how Nate and I are training here.