5 years ago today…
I started running in June 2005. Running, at that time in my life, consisted of me putting one foot in front of the other, kicking up my feet a bit and repeating until my heart was pounding and my oxygen levels were depleted. It was HARD. And I hated it. But I kept at it. And one mile turned into two miles. And two miles turned into three. And three, on the days I really pushed myself, turned into four. Seven months later, it was February and I had peaked at four miles. Sure, I was making progress, but though I was running slightly faster and I didn’t hate it as much as I used to, there was no real catalyst to ever run more than that.
And then I signed up for two half marathons occurring Spring 2006. Somehow, through the grace of everything that is holy, I was going to go from barely being able to run 4 miles to running 13.1. Of course I was.
So on February 8th, I met my running friends in Broadripple. We had a tentative running group that ran together throughout the week and on this night it was me, my friend Laura and Coach O. Both were better runners than I, but slowed down to keep pace with me. When we got to the 2-mile turnaround, we didn’t, in fact, turn around. We kept going because that night, for the first time ever, I was going to run five miles. I remember the night clearly. It was thirty degrees and snowing massive, gorgeous flakes that were large enough to actually hydrate you if they landed on your tongue. The Monon Trail was clear. It was a perfect night. Laura told stories (she always has good stories) and Coach O (who is quite possibly the funniest man alive) kept the laughter going. Before I knew it, we were back at our cars and I had done it. Five miles. I was elated.
What I hope people take from this story is that sometimes, it’s just that easy. It’s making the decision not to stay in your comfort zone. It’s running the mile you have never run. It’s pushing yourself to go just a bit further. When people ask me how on earth I can run 26.2 miles, this is what I tell them. If you can run 4 miles, you can run 5. And if you can run 5, you’ll get to 6. And if you can run 13.1, you can run 15. And after you run 18 miles, 20 won’t seem that bad. And by then, you are ready for a marathon. I’m not saying it doesn’t require a lot of hard work and a lot of time. And focus. Strategy. Knowledge. Commitment. Drive. But what I am saying is that you can do it. Whether it’s the 5k you never thought you’d be able to run, or the Mini Marathon you always dreamed about, or the marathon you never thought possible. They are all entirely doable.
Let’s hear it beginning runners. What’s your most exciting running moment to date? Was it the first time you ran an 11 minute mile? (I’m looking at you, Ashley!) Was it when you crossed the finish line during your first race? Or the time you got on the scale and realized you hit your goal weight? Was it the first time a run felt so easy, that you were certain you could keep going forever?
I want to hear all about them. Every single one.