Thursday, May 31, 2012

I Ran a Half Marathon

Before last November, I never even imagined saying those words out loud.  Heck, I didn't even want to think those words.  But in November 2011, I signed up for the Indy Half Marathon and never looked back.  Those were 13.1 of the most rewarding, brutal, and eye opening miles of my life. 

Every runner has a story.  A reason they first started, a reason they continue, and a reason they choose the races they run.  I imagine if you are not a runner, it's hard to understand the love most runners have for the sport.  If you are not a runner, think of something that brings you joy each time you experience it.  That is running for most runners. 

It's been 12 years since I've played a competitive basketball game.  It's been 12 years since I had felt the joy I have experienced over the past 6 months while training.  Around mile 9 of the half marathon, I started to question what I was doing, but I kept running.  As each mile marker came into sight, I just kept thinking, "Don't stop, keep running".  I had my Ipod on shuffle with over 200 songs.  As I rounded the corner to start the final stretch to the finish line, "Don't Stop Believing" started to play.  I honestly had to choke back tears and try not to grin like a goofy 10 year old girl.  There are no words to describe how I felt when I crossed that finish line.  It was a mix of joy, pride, and physical exhaustion.  Every runner has a story...this is mine.  This is the story of how I found joy in something again.    

There really are no limits in life.  You have to believe that you can achieve them and figure out how to do it.  This post is long overdo, but it's difficult to write about what running that half marathon felt like.  My advice to you if you have lost that joy in your life...don't stop believing and you will find it.  Having faith in yourself and believing in yourself are the best gifts you can ever give.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

My Journey

I woke up before my alarm even went off.  I thought about what I was about to do for just a few moments and then got ready.  The shoes were on and I was out the door.  After half a mile, I realized my knees didn't hurt, my breathing felt good, it was way too hot for 6am, but I felt fantastic.  This was my last "training run" before my very first race.  5 months ago, I never thought this day would come.  For the first 3 months of training, my knees felt like they belonged to a 90 year old woman for the first couple of miles.  I could barely walk down the stairs after anything longer than a 2 mile run.  There were days I really didn't want to run and there were days that I tried to talk myself out of it.  There were days I wanted to quit and there were days I wanted to cry.  There were runs I wanted to quit.  I missed 2 total runs in my training.  1 short run and 1 long.  Other than those two days, I made myself go.  I never let myself quit.  No matter how horrible I felt at the beginning of some of those runs, I ALWAYS felt amazing when I finished. 

You learn a lot about yourself when you start running.  You learn about your physical abilities, your spirit and your will to finish something.  You learn how to push through discomfort.  You learn that running 6 miles without water is a bad idea.  You learn that waking up 2 hours before a long run is expected and encouraged.  You learn to enjoy the scenery.  You learn that training really does work and those 10 miles that once scared the hell out of you, still scare the hell out of you, but you can do it.  You learn that snow plow drivers are extremely bored and you provide endless entertainment if you are nuts enough to run in a blizzard.  You learn that running in a blizzard makes you feel like a bad ass...until you slip on the ice and land on your bad ass.  You learn that going for a run can fix almost anything.  Maybe more than anything, you learn that you love to run.

Saturday, I will run 13.1 miles.  Something I have never done in my life.  At the beginning of this, I thought this was going to be the hardest thing I have ever done.  I was wrong.  This has been one of the most rewarding, therapeutic life lessons I have ever experienced.  In all honesty, this was a journey I was destined to take.  I've always had a bit of rebellion and stubbornness in me that needed a good outlet.  Telling me I would never run again was probably the best thing that ever happened to me.  It brought me to a career that I love with all of my heart and now a new hobby that has changed my life in so many amazing ways.  I never imagined I would feel this way, but I really have learned that I love to run.