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.