The first time I ran 10 miles, I cried.
I'd started running after I left a 5-year relationship. I was living with a good friend temporarily, and she ran, had in fact started running to treat her depression. So we'd get up in the mornings and go for runs, and spend the whole time talking and processing and working through all of the psychological garbage I'd collected over five years with a guy who I loved desperately despite the fact that he was a major alcoholic with a moderate cocaine and prescription drug problem who was sometimes verbally abusive. Oh, and he never wanted to have sex. Wondering why I left?
After awhile, another runner friend suggested I do a half marathon, 13.1 miles. I decided to go for it. I printed a training schedule off the internet and got to work. By this point, I had gotten into another relationship and fallen in love again. He was tall and skinny and funny, a former bike messenger and road bike racer. Sometimes he'd drink a Pabst before we ran, but then we'd head out together, and he was a slow loper of a runner, so I could keep up with him. We'd take my little dog out and run by the river and talk. He called me Sporty Spice.
But then he dumped me.
So I started running alone. Just me and my little dog. And it was good for her, and I felt good, and lost a little weight and even more inches despite my regular diet of carbs, cake, cheese and beer. I'd do several short runs a week then one increasingly long run on the weekend. I'd tried to get to 10 miles a couple of times, but kept getting held back by screwups. My hamstring would bother me, or I'd uknowingly pick a route with bodacious hills that I simply could not run up. I knew all I had to do in my training was get over that damn ten mile mark. As someone told me, "If you can run 10 miles, you can run 13."
As I was coming to the end of the trail, my breath started catching in my throat. At first, I thought something was wrong with me, that my lungs were seizing. Then I realized it was just the pride catching in my lungs. I didn't know until my eyes started to sting how glad I was that there wasn't a man with me. The rest of the day my body buzzed warmly, and I couldn't stop grinning. And I finished the half marathon. I ran the whole way -- I mean, other than when I was drinking gatorade or peeing. I understand that people pee and shit themselves in marathons in order to get good time, but that ain't me.