When college came around I had to red shirt my freshman yeah due to the ACL injury, so I decided to pack up my stuff and move to Florida for college. (coming from snow ridden upstate NY, Florida sounded pretty dreamy!) My college years were spent playing soccer down in Florida through the school year and then when I would travel back home for the summer I would play in the W-League (a semi pro soccer league for women.)
The summer before my 5th and final season down in Florida, I was CUT, you heard it CUT from the Rochester Ravens, the W-League team in Rochester. I recall at the time not really being fazed by it. I was beginning to get burnt out and wanted to enjoy my last summer of freedom before graduating after that fall soccer season. I knew I had to do something with myself other than lifeguard at the Country Club pool, so I just started running....think Forest Gump! Laced up my sneakers and never looked back. Many days I would run twice. I began signing up for every 5k, 10k and 15k I could find. One week running 3 5ks in one week. (Rochester has many many races during the summer...night races, afternoon races, you name a day and I could probably find you a race.) That same summer I also jumped into the the triathlon gig, joining the local RATS group (Rochester Area Triathletes...sweet name huh?) (we are talking summer of 2003 here...just for some frame of reference.)
That summer of 2003 I just went for it. My mind completely became that of a individual sport athlete after being on a team for so long, relying on others in addition to yourself. I knew I could push myself and the times on the clocks at races began to drop. I loved to run and I LOVED to run a 5k. The adrenaline I got from literally sprinting for 3.1 miles was intoxicating. My best time being a 22:06...I actually vividly remember many of the 5ks. I ALWAYS wanted to get into the 21's and came so close.
So now, lets fast forward to today. 8 years later, culinary school done, husband met and married, 2 kids that are no longer "babies" (even though you and I both know our kids will ALWAYS be our babies) and feeling"settled" for the first time in who knows how long. If you were to ask me last year if I wanted to run a marathon I would have laughed in your face, it was just something I have never had any desire to do. 5ks YES, 10ks YES, even a 1/2 marathon would not have been too bad, but something this summer changed. I think it is just my inner athlete trying to get back out. I tend to struggle with the idea of simply being defined as a "mother" and "wife." I know that may sound terribly selfish, but I need more. If I was working in the "real world" I think I would be fine to run here and there, hit up the gym and go about my days, knowing I was a "Chef." But I want more. I want to be defined by something else and I think it may just be that I am a "RUNNER!" I hope in the near future to once again also be able to define myself as a "TRIATHLETE."
SO there you have it. I need more! I push myself a ton and want so much out of myself. I have not even run my 1st Marathon yet, but in 12 days I will have. My time will probably NOT qualify me for Boston (If it does you will probably hear a very large scream around 10am East coast time on the 30th) but I will run Boston...2012? 2013? Who Know? Someday I will also hear over a loudspeaker "Heather Cruz YOU are an Ironman!" when I cross the finish line in Kona!
(sorry for the lack of pictures....we all like pictures, but I don't have any scanned from my early life. I will jump on that task soon!)