The fact that I can say those words is pretty hilarious. Anyone who knew me prior to 2013 can quote me saying things like, “Why would I run? Is there a pack of dogs behind me?” or “I run for ice cream trucks!” When I lived in Miami, it was just when the bumper stickers pronouncing distance covered became popular. I thought the people with 26.2 on their cars just were proud of our approximate latitude. Not even kidding.
Nonetheless, on March 23, 2013, I did something I never believed I could, would, or should do –
I ran my first 5k.
I had trained for 8 weeks using a Couch-to-5k app on my phone. Two days before, I was starting to experience serious doubt and soreness. I showed up at the starting line nonetheless, lined up near the back as I had read beginners should do. I amused those around me as I squealed with excitement in an attempt to hide my fear. Aaaaaaaand then I heard the gun. I turned on my music and started to go. Before I knew it, mile 1 was done, then 2, then 3. I made one more turn and then I saw the big sign that read “FINISH.” Prior to seeing it, I hadn’t thought about what it would feel like to see it. I started to tear up (I’m a huge softy) and run faster. 40 minutes and 49 seconds after I had started, I crossed the finish line, where my parents were waiting to celebrate with me.
I. Was. Hooked. In the year that has passed, I have completed 20 more races, including more 5ks, 10ks, 2 duathlons, 2 triathlons, and 3 half marathons. I’ve loved the vast majority of it, overcoming port-a-potties, injuries, and a serious case of self-doubt. I am blessed to be much healthier than when I started, as now I haul significantly less mass across each finish line.
Though I now train for multiple sports, running will always have a unique place in my heart. I see the world in a completely different way since running has been in my life. I have much more appreciation for my inner strength. I am much more aware of how my body works. I take such pleasure in feeling the steady rhythm of my feet under me as they take me places I never dreamed I would go. I have met some fabulous people who encourage to maximize my own fabulousness. Every time I run, I am forced closer to God as I continually challenge myself to do things I’m unsure I can. All of my relationships are healthier because I am healthier and can give more to those whom I love.
To running. Thanks for all you’ve given me. I hope I never let you go.