I have run two half-marathons. 

That sentence ranks in the top five of Things I Never Thought I’d Say. And it comes right after “I have run one half-marathon.” 

You see, I’ve never been a runner. Fastpitch was my first love, though I can’t hit the ball even if it was the size of a pumpkin and coming in slow motion. Pitchers aren’t good hitters anyways, they told me, because they spend all their time in the pen. That works. But in high school, I realized I didn’t have that competitive drive coaches look for. I had the arm, the eye, the coordination…everything but the hunger for the W.

In college, I joined the tennis team mostly because they were desperate and I was a warm body who happened to own a racket. I loved it, probably because the stakes were low (we were a DIII school) and the matches were fun. Oh, and did I mention that there’s not a ton of running in tennis? You just have to sprint around half the court.

Then, I took up running. 

Why? I don’t even know. Give me a bike or a glove or a tennis racket but please give me something more than just a pair of shoes. But my sister-in-law had been running and rocking it. She did this thing called interval training, where you only run for a couple minutes at at time. And Heaven knows why I tried it. I don’t even remember. But I did it. And I didn’t like it, but I could do it. I’ll never forget the first time I ran 10 miles. Exhausted. Proud. Wondering why I did that to myself. 

In running, your only competitor is you, the last time you ran this distance. You don’t even care about winning (well, at least not if you’re in my speed bracket). And you burn enough calories to have a slice of pizza or ice cream and that’s really all that matters. 

My first half-marathon was in 2015, in Detroit. And I ran it for nobody but myself. To prove I could.

To silence the can’ts. To redeem elementary gym class Emily, who could never quite make it the whole mile. To show middle school strike-out Emily that I am a competitor, just a different kind. To whisper to college tennis player Emily that there is more and better ahead. To remind current Emily that I can do new things. And to call to future Emily that I will do more than I think.  

The second time, well, that wasn’t for me. But that’s another story.

And no, I don’t plan on running a full marathon. Then again, that’s how the half-marathons started. Oh, dear. I’ve said too much. 


Monday Mugs is where I tell the stories behind my coffee mugs. Each one holds a story (and coffee, of course) of somewhere I’ve been or something I’ve seen. Because if even a coffee mug has a story, so do you. The photos are my actual mugs, not lookalikes found online. So grab one of your own mugs (fill it with coffee first) and hear the stories of mine. And don’t forget the cream and sugar.

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