***99***

There are about 50 emails in my inbox that all are pretty important. There are dishes in the sink. The house is kind of a wreck. But, I am on a runner's high... so please indulge me.

According to my running log, I have now pounded 99 miles of asphalt this year. 99. Miles. For some, this is nothing. For some, this is the equivalent of a couple of weeks of running. For me, it's everything. For me, the one who always feels like the poser, the outsider, in the running store and at the starting lines, this is huge. This poser, this beginner, has 99 miles under her belt. (Or maybe "on her soles" is more appropriate?) Six months ago, I would have scoffed and said "Run 99 miles?! Impossible!" Now I say, "Bring. It." Every mile that passes, I see improvement. Or, at the very least, ways to improve. Every mile has provided growth... some hard earned, and some that earn the elusive title of "runner's high." Ahhh... now I get it.

It hasn't always been an easy 99 miles. There's been a lot of sweat, a lot of pain, and even some tears. Ninety nine miles ago, I couldn't even do a couple of miles without a break to walk, or to simply just breathe. Now I run. Sometimes I run like there is lead in my legs, sometimes I run as though the wind is at my back. Regardless, I run. I just run. Ninety nine miles ago, hills could bring me to my knees. Literally. Now I find myself pounding up them, maybe a little slower, but still running. Ninety nine miles ago, I never knew how devastating the word anemia could be, or how much pain one joint could provide. I've battled more than hills in this 99 miles, and I'm strong enough to face whatever the next 99 bring.

It hasn't been easy, but I'm finally feeling like I've earned that title of "Runner" ...

"If you run, you are a runner. It doesn't matter how fast or how far. It doesn't matter if today is your first day or if you've been running for twenty years. There is no test to pass, no license to earn, no membership card to get. You just run." - John Bingham