My Running Story
Tonight I had the pleasure of catching up with an old friend. I asked Jessica if she would show me around the trails at a local park, because I don’t like to explore a trail for the first time alone. It was great to catch up and to have someone to run with. She is an AMAZING runner. I remember back in the day she was like the star of the track and cross country team. I remember admiring her for the very brief time I was on the track team, and hearing her name being called over the loudspeaker for doing so well at the meets. Now she’s actually the track coach at a local high school. How cool is that?!
We ran about 3 miles in 24 minutes and chatted the whole way. Catching up with an old running friend made me think a lot about the history I’ve had with running. When I was a little girl I absolutely loved to run. Something about my bare feet hitting the pavement was very exhilarating at a young age. Instead of walking home from a friend’s house I would always run. I also used to challenge my friends, siblings, and parents to race me on foot. The only person I could never beat was my dad! I assured him I would one day.
When I got to Jr. High I decided to try track. I was in athletics where we were expected to play different sports. I was not good at softball, volleyball, basketball, or really anything so I decided I’d try my hand at track. I always thought I wanted to be a sprinter and just do quick 100meter runs, but it turns out compared to all the other girls I wasn’t really good at that. So even though I ABHORED distance running, I signed myself up to compete in the mile because that’s what one of my friends was running. I ended up shocking myself and the coaches finish my mile in about 7:30 (my previous mile time for class was over 10 min). My coaches ask me if I’d want to join the cross country team and I thought HECK NO I’m not running that far! 2 miles was too much! I enjoyed doing track, but I let my nerves and my insecurities get the best of me. I didn’t feel very confident in my abilities so I decided to quit the team. In high school I joined drill team (dance). The only time I would ever run would be when it was forced for punishment and I hated every single minute of it.
Once I made it to college, I had completely forgotten about my passion for running I had when I was young. My first year of college I had to take a fitness class where we were told to run and that running 3 miles would be part of our final. We were to run 3 miles in 30 minutes to get an A on the test. I remember thinking that was nearly impossible! Who could run 3 miles in 30 minutes?! I ended up doing some kind of walk/run combination for the final and I finished about 2.5 miles in the 30 minutes and it was so HARD. After that, I didn’t do any sports, and I had gained the dreaded freshman weight. I was out of shape and more concerned with studying, working, and socializing than worrying about exercising. Eventually all the late night pizza and drinks started really catching up to me so I started making random appearances in the gym. I usually would do the elliptical and play around with the weight machines which never really got me anywhere.
In my last year of college I had more free time so I started visiting the gym more frequently. My manager at my job was very inspiring. She would always talk about running 5k’s and half marathons and it started to peak my interest. It was then I decided I wanted to challenge myself and I wanted to be able to run that 3 miles in 30 minutes one day. I would get on the treadmill and run very slowly for a few minutes then walk a few minutes. Eventually, I could run very slowly for 10 minutes, take a break, and do 10 more minutes. I was feeling so great, and so proud that I was actually RUNNING! It was shortly after this that my sister mentioned she wanted to do a 5k and asked if I’d be interested in signing up. I told her I’d actually been running some, I was kind of nervous, but I said yes. I looked up some stuff about training plans on the internet and got started on a 2 month training plan.
During the plan, I just kept seeing myself improving so much and it was so motivating to try to go faster or push myself longer. Everytime I conquered a new distance or pace it was a small victory. At the end of February 2009, my sister and I both finished our first 5k at the Ft. Worth Cowtown Event and we were hooked.
I ended up keeping up with the running and challenging myself to run 4 miles, 5 miles, 6 miles. I just kept working at it and seeing what I could do. I ran a few more 5k’s (one in which I finally beat my dad!), I completed my first triathlon, and did a 10k. I was upping my distance and upping my pace and feeling on top of the world when I won a few age group awards. A year after my first 5k I returned to the same Ft. Worth Cowtown Event to complete my first half marathon. Crossing that finish line felt so exhilarating, and I was feeling even more motivated to challenge myself even more.
Somewhere in me I got the courage to sign up for a Marathon. I knew with training, dedication, and persistence it would totally be possible. If you want something bad enough it can be yours. I trained and trained and finished my first marathon at the beginning of this year.
I have completely fallen in love with running. Running has changed my body in so many ways. I’m stronger, more physically fit than ever, and I feel the healthiest I’ve ever been. Running has changed my mind set. It has shown me that anything is possible if you put your mind to it. It has taught me you have to work hard to achieve the things you want out of life. Running has taught me how to push myself, and give the best of myself whenever I feel like I have nothing left to give. It has taught me to be confident, and to put myself out there. It’s taught lessons in patience, and that not every situation is always perfect, but to make the best out of whatever life hands you.
It may sound goofy, but I feel like I’ve always had some sort of ongoing relationship with running, it’s always followed me around and been in the back of my head. I’m so glad I decided to take that leap and try my first 5k. I never in my wildest dreams thought I would ever even enjoy running, would ever complete a marathon, or even ever attempt to run 3 miles straight. I’m so thankful I’ve taken the chance to pursue and experience the passion of running I’ve felt from a young age.