Remembering Why

Blog, Elisabeth Marnik

My journey with running started 6 years ago shortly after I moved to Maine for graduate school. Back then I was 100 lbs heavier, unhealthy, out of shape and struggling with loneliness, anxiety and depression. I reached the point in my life where I couldn’t take who I was anymore and I knew I needed to change. I always admired runners, but growing up I couldn’t even make it through the one-mile fitness test in school, so the thought of me running was a joke. In my quest to make a change I came across the couch to 5k training program and decided I had nothing to lose by trying it. I still remember lacing up a pair of cheap target sneakers and jumping on a treadmill that first day. I almost died running that first interval, but I did it!

Fast forward to today and I’m currently training for my second full marathon (NYC in November). That day I jumped on the treadmill for my first running interval I never thought marathons would be in my future. Running taught me that I am capable of doing anything I set my mind to and it helped me find joy, health and happiness. Sometimes I forget that though. The six year ago me is somewhat of a distant memory. Today’s version of me often struggles with finding the motivation to get out of bed early to run before work because I’m tired. I forget why I decided to train for another marathon. I often am dissatisfied by how slow I am and feel like a fraud when I call myself a runner. The list could go on and on – it’s the doubts we all face when we have bad runs.

However, on one of my runs recently I started reminiscing about that 6 year ago me. I started listing off all of the things I’ve done and accomplished since I ran that first step. I remembered all of the people I’ve met (including my husband) because I took on a challenge that seemed impossible. Pretty soon I forgot how tired I was when I dragged myself out of bed and how slow I felt compared to other runners I know.  Pretty soon that run was feeling easier! I think all runners, especially on bad days, forget what brought us to this sport in the first place. We forget how far we’ve come and that we actually love to run, even though it sometimes feels impossibly hard.

This marathon training cycle I am making a point to remind myself, when those bad runs come, that I don’t have to train for the marathon.  Instead, I’m reminding myself that I am lucky enough to be able to train. The six year ago me would have killed for this opportunity and would never have believed she could one day be a runner.  So, I am going to train and run NYC for her!

“Strength doesn’t come from what you can do. It comes from overcoming the things you once thought you couldn’t” – Rikki Rogers


4 thoughts on “Remembering Why

  1. I can relate to this so much! It’s like you’re describing my thoughts and memories exactly, ha ha. And you’re right, we are lucky that we get to do this. And YOU are lucky that you got into the freaking NYC marathon! I’m jealous. Can’t wait to hear more about your training and the race. 🙂

    1. I certainly am grateful for the fact I actually got into NYC through the lottery. I applied on a whim while sleep deprived (long story) and was pretty surprised to find out I got in (plus the $280 race fee, ouch). This is definitely my once in a lifetime opportunity to run NYC though so I am excited!

  2. This hits home for me, especially after my mom visited this week from New Hampshire. She was active all her life—very slim and muscular—but as she’s aged, she’s limited in what she can do. She has arthritis and bursitis, and she can’t always run around with our daughter as much as she’d like. It dawned on me that that might be my future, so I should take care of my body now and be thankful for every second that I’m able to run! You said it exactly right: We don’t HAVE to run, we GET to run. It really is a privilege.

    I’ve also struggled with motivation a bit this week, and I’ve seen a correlation between not running as much and my mood. Running is my “me time” to listen to great podcasts such as Runner Girls, and it’s a time for me to think about life in general and let go of the day’s frustrations. Without that, I seem to flounder. Because of your post, I’m going to lace up and hop on the treadmill today! Thank you!

  3. It’s an easy thing to forget. Especially in the summer when running can be challenging due to the heat and humidity. I agree though , there’s a HUGE correlation between being active and my mood. No matter how much I don’t want to run going into the run I almost always feel better after! I’m glad I encouraged you a little – have fun out there! 🙂

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