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