When I moved to Alaska, I knew one of the hardest things to give up was going to be drag racing. No, I haven’t had to “give it up,” but I was going from living in drag racing country, a place where were you could jokingly be told directions in sentences such as “it’s 3 drag strips, a left turn and 2 oak trees away…” to being 6 hours from the closest sanctioned drag strip. I lived in 1/8th mile central, could drag race most of the year and I loved it.
I love racing so much I had a christmas tree added to my tattoo collection when I was 21. Lets just say selling my race car and searching for a new adrenaline rush is much like searching for your soul.
Drag Racing has never been and will never be far from my heart and soul. The last time I was home in Virginia, I raced a friends street car in the street class – just for that bracket racing rush. I can’t help but love dialing in a car and being chased down just to whomp whomp someone at the finish line – its what I’m good at.
But alas, in 2012, I began searching. I decided I may want a career field change and to make that change, I had to meet fitness standards. One of those standards was running 1.5 miles in under 15:12. At the time, I could barely run a mile in under that time without wanting to puke. But in time, it came. Then I started running 5Ks and 10ks and training for a half marathon. Then, I ran a marathon relay on a 3-person team. I fell in freaking love with running.
Now lets talk about runner’s high. Have you never experienced it? Well, I’m not sure if everyone does. But I didn’t until after I started running longer distances. I’m not talking about marathons, but you have to get out there and not quit after a mile. The first time I felt it, I was brought back to the first time I saw a win light bright as a sun on my side of the track. Yep, I was in love. I was in love with running. I had hung up my racing shoes and laced up running shoes to fill a void that I didn’t think I – very much an adrenaline junkie just like my Dad – could ever fill.
I started training for different distances, different types of races like this Triathlon I’m racing in this weekend. I found my sweet spot aka my favorite distance to run. Its the distance that any day, any time, I can lace up, step out the front door, and go run (mine is 5-6 miles, by the way). It’s the distance I love to go out and think, vent to myself, enjoy the sunshine, maybe I get to say to myself “you’re tough because you’re running in this cold a** weather,” or get out all my aggression for the day.
But it gets better. The runner’s high gets better. RACEDAY. You train hard and you think “this is what’s going to happen and this is my goal.” Then adrenaline kicks in and it feels so freaking good. It brings me back to moments in a racecar on the starting line. That rush coming through me, waiting for GO. Its an incredible feeling. It’s what keeps me going, It’s what got me green lights then and gets me my PRs now. It’s what makes me love racing. It always has been and probably always will be.
I’ll never forget the feeling I had when I got my first win light and I’ll never forget the feeling I had the first time I crossed the finish line during my first race – the Beat Beethoven 5k. I might not get back to those racing shoes anytime soon, but these running shoes sure are treating me good.