After this past Saturday, I can say that I am halfway through the Grand Prix! Well, OK, 2 out of 4 finish lines have been crossed, but really it is 16.2 miles down and 32.4 to go.(for the math wizards, that's 33% completed)

Unplugged is a great event! It's a nice course though neighborhoods and along the bike path with it's stunning lake views.  The crowds were light, but very supportive.  The volunteers were so gracious.  Who can beat Switchback and Moe's at the finish? Denise UP pic

As I was running Saturday, I was passing some runners and watching others leave me behind.  I began to wonder how each of them got to this point of rolling out of bed on a 27 degree April morning.  The super speedsters, the middle of the packers, the first timers, the veterans, they all had a story.  More than that, I began to think back to how I myself arrived at the bridge over the Winooski river in the bright beautiful sun.

What made me want to run anyway?  I was a college soccer player (but I was the goal keeper). I did a couple of 5Ks in medical school.  As a general rule though, with the naivety of youth, came the loathing of running.

My first real training was for my first ever half marathon in Cincinnati.  The Flying Pig 5/6/07.  Through exams, moving to a new city, a new job, crazy hospital hours, my weight had crept up and I didn't feel great.  Rather than just saying "I'm going to start running." or "I'll lose 20 pounds".-I needed a figurative and literal finish line.  I never thought I could do it, but I finished it and actually loved it! (And the medal with the little pig on it was adorable)

The next Spring, I did a half in Central Park, about 13 weeks pregnant.  I felt awful, but I finished it.

Then the few year hiatus with the newborn, toddler, more exams, more job stress, and A LOT more weight.

I began running again in late 2011, after the weight had come of with strict dieting.  It was certainly easier to train lighter.

I did lots of races in 2012 including my PR half marathon.  I was probably in the best shape I have ever been in. Then in summer 2013, my second was born.

I ran the last 5 person relay leg of VCM in 2014.  5.5 miles cold turkey.  That was pretty much when I decided running needed to be something just for me.  Not even for the scale or the mirror this time, but for my soul.  I take care of people at work all day and at home all the time, but I never took care of me.

It's been hard, nursing the infant at finish lines and putting in miles on the treadmill in the basement after they are asleep.  It has only been recently that I have been able to say to my kids that "Mommy really needs to run for mommy right now.  I'll be back soon."  Admittedly, I can still improve on that!

That's the valuable lesson in running, we can always improve.  But, as I crossed the finish line Saturday I recognized and consciously thought, "This is just for me."  (As was the Switchback)