Six years ago, I couldn’t run a mile. I struggled to breathe, to keep moving. I remember at one point trying to run for about a week, but then I gave up. I didn’t try running again until 2011, when I was in the midst of the darkest time of my life. I had absolutely no confidence in myself. I decided that something had to change, so I gave myself a challenge: to run the 4.2-mile Pat’s Run race that ends in Sun Devil Stadium in Tempe, Arizona. At the time, the thought of running that far when I couldn’t manage a mile previously terrified me. I used a training program and treadmill to prepare myself for the race for weeks. On race day, I surprised myself by finishing the race in my goal time and without walking. The race gave me the confidence boost I needed, reminding me that I could change anything in my life that I wanted. Slowly I did transform my life, by untangling my ties with certain people and focusing on myself. That’s how my love of running began. I would train race by race, taking breaks in between. I went from Pat’s Run to 10Ks to half marathons to Ragnar Relays. This year I trained for more than 16 weeks for my first marathon. After the marathon, I wondered what would be the next milestone I would celebrate.
I now know what it is.
I hit the 500-mile running mark at the end of September. I didn’t make a big deal about it. I didn’t tweet it or tell anyone except Graham. But I’m realizing now that I should be proud. I’ve never consistently ran throughout the year until 2015. Sure, I showed more commitment some months than others; In January I ran almost 100 miles vs. the 14 I logged in May. (And October has been another slow month.) I have never entirely quit and that deserves to be celebrated. Many runners log 500-plus miles every year, but this is my first. Now I hope to surpass that by at least 100 miles.
I would have never guessed I’d become a runner, but I’m so grateful running has become a part of my life.
How has running or working out affected your life? Have you surprised yourself with what you have accomplished?