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  • Writer's pictureTIKIMA THOMPSON


Running. A word that used to evoke a deep sense of disdain within me. Hate may be a strong word, but the emotional trauma I associated with running was undeniable. It all began on a scorching summer day in 1991, amidst the vibrant streets of Los Angeles, California. Little did I know that a seemingly innocent trip to Wendy's would forever change my perspective on running. Fast forward to the present day, living in suburbs outside of Washington, D.C., where runners of all kinds fill the streets, and my admiration for them has transformed into a burning desire to join their ranks. This is the story of my journey from running aversion to becoming a proud runner myself.

Part 1:

The Frosty Incident:

It all began on a summer day in 1991, in the vibrant city of Los Angeles, California. The skies were clear, and the infectious beats of DJ Quik's "Quik is the Name" album resonated from Alpine Speakers all around. My mother, with her inviting voice, suggested we visit Wendy's, and her words were like a sweet symphony to my ears. Excitement filled the air as my sister and I eagerly anticipated the delectable taste of Frosty's chocolate goodness. Laughter and smiles were abundant as we enjoyed a glorious day together, reveling in the bond between mother and daughter.

As our day drew to a close, we decided it was time to head back home. And then it happened—the pivotal moment that forever tarnished my perception of running. "That's our bus!" my mom exclaimed, pointing across the street. In an instant, she tightly grasped our wrists and sprinted towards the bus, leaving me with a perplexed thought: "Wait, what about my Frosty?" Breathless and disheveled, I found myself aboard the MTA bus, my overalls stained by the melted remnants of my abandoned treat. It was at that moment, with a temporary grimace etched on my face, that I made a solemn vow—I would never subject myself to running again.

As I reflect on these events, I realize the dramatic tone of my words, but I couldn't fathom the idea of running without purpose.

Part 2:

The Gazelle Envy: Living in the bustling city of Washington, D.C., I couldn't help but notice the omnipresence of runners. Rain or shine, young or old, they gracefully took to the streets, their determination and dedication evident in every stride. As I sat in the comfort of my car, gazing at these runners huddled together like elegant gazelles on the savanna, a yearning grew within me. I wanted to experience the camaraderie, the strength, and the freedom that running seemed to offer. It was time to leave behind the memories of Frosty-stained overalls and the passive admiration from afar. I was ready to become a runner, to transform myself into a gazelle.

Part 3:

A New Beginning: While signing up for a full marathon may be too ambitious, I knew I had to start somewhere. A 5k or 10k race seemed like the perfect stepping stone into the world of running. But before I could lace up my running shoes and hit the pavement, there were challenges to overcome. Training, finding the right gear, and seeking out running buddies—all were hurdles I had to face head-on. Running would not come easy, but the sense of accomplishment upon crossing the finish line of a marathon would make every step worthwhile.

Join me on this running journey as I conquer the emotional barriers that have held me back. Let's make our own huddle, a community of individuals striving to challenge themselves, achieve their goals, and experience the joy of running. Together, we will defy stereotypes, overcome obstacles, and create our own remarkable running stories. From Frosty mishaps to gazelle-like grace, this is my transformation from a running hater to a proud runner. Are you ready to lace up your shoes and join me? The road awaits!

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