I Run to Be

Never in my life did I envision myself as a runner. Or even someone who could BE a runner one day. I HATED it. With every fiber in my being. I couldn’t breathe right, my legs would always hurt, I’d get cramps in my side. My mind would always shut down and be like NO WAY! You CAN’T do this.

Well, in October 2012 I completed my very first FULL marathon. That is 26.2 miles people (and the last 0.2 TOTALLY counts and needs to be included when you talk about your race!).

What. The. Heck. Happened?!

It took me awhile to figure it out. A lot of looking back on all the things that were happening at that point in my life. There were many catalysts, but I can now remember the one specific moment that I started the journey and the thought crept into my mind that one day I COULD be a runner. I was out walking Green Lake with my roommate as we usually did when we both got home from work. It was a bright and beautiful Seattle day in June, which is not very common. Up until that point with my weight loss I hadn’t done anything more than walk. I’d never tried to make myself run. I’d gotten on the elliptical but other than that it was purely a walking habit. We were about halfway through our walk (Green Lake is 3 miles around) when we bumped into our friend Jillian who was out running with her Team In Training friends. Jillian had run MULTIPLE half marathons with TNT and I remember how I always used to admire her tenacity because no way in the world would I EVER be able to do that.

They ran on past us and Katie and I continued chatting about life (We had many a serious conversation while out walking the lake!) and other random things I’m sure. Then at one point about 5 minutes after they’d run past us I remember telling Katie I wanted to try running. I told her I had no idea how far I’d be able to make it, but why the heck not? Let’s give it a go. I can’t remember how far we got and I know we stopped MULTIPLE times to take little walk breaks, but we ran the majority of what was left of our loop. And I didn’t feel like I wanted to die! SCORE! Don’t get me wrong it was rough! I was breathing hard, pretty sure I cramped up and my legs felt the pain, but for some reason it was different.That night I made the mental goal for myself that one day I’d be able to run ALL of Green Lake without stopping. Katie made a joke when we had finished that of course I’d wait until she was moving away to finally become a runner. Little did we both know what would unfold over the next year!

I don’t think I ran again until a month after that first run, which is when I started training for my first half marathon. But THAT was the day it started. I looked at my friends Jillian and Katie, both who had run half marathons before, and I wanted to be able to do one with them. I wanted to just complete ONE! But when I was done I had the hope that I could go out and run 3-5 miles a few times a week and not want to die each time I went out. I wanted to be as tough as they were. As fierce as they were. I still hope one day I’m as tough and as fierce as these two women because they CONSTANTLY inspire me and I want them to know that.

So that’s HOW I came to be a runner. And yes I do consider myself a runner now. I may not always be the fastest, I may not have the greatest form, I may not always have amazing runs, but I AM a runner.

I run to be ME. Running allows me to escape everything else in my life, no matter what it is. I can get out on the road, whether its with my headphones or just my own thoughts, and just run it out. Some days I don’t want to run, but every time I get out I’m glad I did it.

I run because I CAN. There was a point in my life that this was never going to be possible. The point where I’d packed on weight and I’d lost interest and the ability to go out and do the things I once loved. Now I CAN do it. I do it also for those that can’t. Those that are battling cancer, heart disease, Crohn’s, depression, obesity or anything else. You remember that even on your rough days when getting out and running seems like the hardest thing around, there are others dealing with SO MUCH MORE.

I run to be VICTORIOUS. My Team Victorious sisters have taught me so much throughout our journey (read more about Team Victorious here) to Nike Women’s Marathon and beyond. It turned out to be SO much more than any of us could ever imagine. But this team and these women give me unlimited amounts of strength and encouragement. Every time I feel I can’t….they remind me I can. And I WILL.

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