Archive for August, 2013

Running for Change


When I told my friend that I was running in the United States Air Force Marathon, she got excited and showed me the album she made after running the Chicago Marathon. She had a graph of her training runs, pictures, her estimated finish time, a print out of her actual finish time, etc. She also had a plastic baggy with change in it (quarters, nickels, dimes, pennies); she said it was her prize purse. To break up the monotony of long training runs, she had picked up spare change she would find lying on the ground along the way.

When I told my husband about her prize purse, he said, “Where is she running? I never see change on the ground!”

I was thinking the same thing, but I started looking for change, anyway. For the first week or so, I only found a screw and two nails. They had no monetary value, but I pictured myself saving a poor driver from a flat tire. There were also plenty of cigarette butts and a dirty band-aid, but I wisely left them on the ground. About a week ago, I found a plastic bottle cap and a metal beer cap. My prize purse was looking pretty pathetic.

Then, last weekend at the beginning of my 16 mile run, I saw a bright, shiny penny on my path. My first currency for my prize purse! And, it was not just any penny; it was a 1999 penny. Significant because 1999 is when I started having symptoms of Meniere’s disease (vertigo, loss of balance, vomiting, hearing loss), had surgery to try to alleviate the symptoms, and lost the hearing in my left ear. That was 14 years ago, and look how far I have come.

As I completed my 16 mile training run, I reflected on what I had accomplished since 1999:  I lost 50 pounds, got my symptoms under control, started running, have run almost a dozen half marathons, a trail marathon, and I am now running a street marathon. That 1999 penny is a symbolic trophy worth more than any prize purse!

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