One fateful Memorial Day Weekend in 2010 I was partaking in a Frisch Family annual tradition of running the Spring Lake 5 Mile Run in Spring Lake New Jersey. As a 10-year-old, I knew that these 5 miles would pose to be a challenge for me. I knew that the run around the lake is always LONG and that the second half could be shorter. I also knew that the "final stretch" felt really stretched out. All of this was obviously relative to 10-year-old Alex. What I didn't expect from this race in 2010 was it was going to be one of the hardest courses I would run yet even though I ran this course before. What happened to lil' Alex? I got lost.... running a race.
I know there are questions and you must be thinking "How do you get lost running a race when 10,000 people are running the same course as you?" It is a lot easier than you think, once everyone runs away, you don't know where to go. But yes, I got lost. I was running the race and enter my asthma and a panic attack. I knew my mom had my inhaler so I set out to find her in a race with... 10,000 people. Look, I didn't say I was making smart decisions but remember I was ten. In the search for my mom, people kept running past me, and before I knew it, everyone ran away. For the next hour, I was wandering the streets of Spring Lake embarrassed and scared because I didn't know where anyone was. I knew where the car was and knew my flip phone was in the seat pocket. I eventually found my parents and on that faithful Saturday in May, I swore off running. I had my first asthma attack a year ago running a 5k Pizza Run and I resigned accepting I am not a runner.
It is clear now that I am more of a runner than I ever thought I would be. I have run multiple Half Marathons and am currently training to eventually run a Marathon. 10-year-old Alex would for sure not expect this. I mean my family was surprised I was the first one to run a Half Marathon considering my siblings both ran in High School. I did have the opportunity to return to the Spring Lake 5 Mile Run in 2015 or 2016 (I am not so sure on the year) for the first time in a few years. When I ran it, I didn't get lost but, it was still hard. I mean 5 miles wasn't easy for someone who committed to run once a year. Regardless, I returned but, I haven't reclaimed it yet.
I was supposed to run this race in 2020 and again in 2021 but, for obvious reasons it didn't happen. What I did do though was go to Spring Lake, New Jersey in February of 2021 and ran that same course. I ran that course following no one and just followed my instincts. I ran that course faster than I ever did in the past and I did it all by myself. Yes I am 22 and I am older but, that course was always such a challenge for me. I am now an avid runner and the 5 miles felt like a piece of cake. I was able to come back more than 10 years later and change the narrative. The Spring Lake 5 was just the start of my running story, not the end. Re-running that course as a 22-year-old felt nostalgic and felt brand new. I had memories scattered around the entire course but, I felt new and felt more me. That 5 mile course was no longer daunting or challenging, it was just one of my weekly runs. I re-wrote the story.
Reclaiming and rewriting stories from the past don't stop here. I have countless examples of moments I was able to reclaim things from my past and change the narrative in a positive way. It spans from music taste to things I like to do in my free time to places I have been where I had a negative experience. There is one thing that I have been spending a lot of time reclaiming and it might encompass everything and be the most important one, my identity. I am finally letting myself be me again. Here is to keep on finding ways to reclaim things from the past.
*Spring Lake 5 Mile Run in 2016 with my mom and sister.