“ It never gets easier, you just get stronger.”
Throughout the last three years, running has become a substantial part of my life. Whether training for a race or just for leisure, running has always been an outlet for me. I often come across people who are interested in running, but end up convincing themselves that they can’t…but the thing is, you CAN! Anyone can become a runner and no, you don’t have to be athletic or have an athletic build to start. There are a million and one excuses…”Running is too hard”, “I’m too slow”, “My hair will get messed up!” Listen, I’ve had all of these excuses and some! However, as I’ve mentioned in previous blog posts…everyone has to start somewhere, just as I did.
Life hits you HARD
2012-2013 were particularly some tough years for me. I experienced a very tragic loss in 2013 that put me under…way under. I was so confused about life and just…EVERYTHING. I didn’t want to talk to anyone and wasn’t motivated to do ANYTHING. Sure, on the outside looking in may have seemed as if I was happy; partying and eating ALL the time. These were all coping mechanisms. I was depressed and in a dark place for a while. I tried to think of things that would lift my spirits…other than hitting the streets of D.C. with my girlfriends. I also neglected the fact that I had packed on some pounds in the process. I’ve always been an active person and getting myself back into shape was the only thing I could think of to help turn things around.
In the beginning, I never ran long distances…no longer than maybe two miles primarily on a treadmill. To clear my head, I began running outdoors. Something about running outside and taking in your surroundings was so liberating. I started with 2 miles (STRUGGLE miles!) and then as my endurance increased, I would push myself a little farther each run. I wasn’t the fastest, in fact I was very slow starting out. The main objective for me was not my pace but not to give up, no matter how painful or exhausting it was. I wouldn’t let myself quit… all of the sadness, anger, frustration, loneliness…all of the emotions I felt helped push me farther and farther. Then my competitive spirit kicked in and I became interested in running a race.
When one of my friends mentioned she was registering to run the Ukrop’s Monument 10k (6.2 miles) in our hometown (Richmond, VA) I was very intrigued…so I signed up! I wasn’t aware that I needed a training program so I pretty much did my own thing; alternating between running outside and strength training in the gym. Fast forward to the day of the race…so excited, anxious and nervous! I felt great 2 miles in until the sky decided to open up and pour buckets…downpours the remainder of the way (oh joy). I was pissed but wasn’t letting the rain discourage me (although it was!). I thought of all the reasons why I started running in the first place and pushed through to the finish line. I was completely DRENCHED but so elated that I had officially completed my first race! At that moment, I understood why people run and participate in these races…that feeling of accomplishment is like no other!
From that moment of completing my first race, I didn’t want it to end there. Since then, I have completed 3 10k’s, 2 ten milers, 5 half marathons (13.1 miles), and most recently completed my first FULL marathon (26.2 miles). Through running, I have accomplished things I never thought I would and have pushed myself to limits I never imagined I’d reach (and still going)!
Running is metaphorically a lot like life. Some days are great…some days are not so great. There may even be some unforeseen twists, turns, and hurdles that you have to push through no matter how hard it is. The good thing is…through all of the struggles lies victory at the end!
Get up, get out and get moving!
:: Check out my dope running crew’s (District Running Collective) site to learn more why I love this running culture (link below) ::
While you’re there, check out my “Journey to 26.2 miles” blog posted in their “In the Running Room” blog tab (link below).
Until next time!