Today marks my one-year run-niversary! I really don’t want this post to be all sappy and cliché about how running has changed my life and all that blah, blah, blah. But the truth is, it really has- and not just because I’m now training for a full marathon, it’s changed my whole way of life.
Literally, a year ago, I kid you not, running a mile seemed like an impossible task. I would make excuses to avoid any sort of running. My cousin would ask me to go out on a 3-mile run with her during the summer and I’d reject the offer every single time. When I look back, I’m not sure if it was because I didn’t think I could run that far, I think it was more that I was afraid and insecure about running.
When I started running, those insecurities did not go away. In fact, they took months to go away. I only ran on the treadmill, at the gym, on a very low speed. I was afraid to run outside because of passing cars, nervous my form was awkward or that I’d get to a certain point and not be able to turn around and run home. I was also afraid to run with other people because I was insecure about my pace, my breathing, and my (sometimes) lack of motivation.
But in a year’s time, all of that has gone away. Now I loathe the treadmill and will do anything to be able to run outside. I went from a run-walk a year ago, to being able to run 18 miles in a single shot today. My paces used to hover around the mid 10:00/mile speed to now the low 8:00/mile and even some 7:00/mile paces lately. All within a year.
In this past year, my running has taken me to places I never thought it would. I’ve been lucky to find support through social media and this blog, and that support is what has kept me logging all those miles. I’ve developed relationships with runners all across the country and people are now turning to me for advice, which is something that continues to humble me every day. I also went from being just a blogger to an online editor at the nation’s leading running magazine, and that’s definitely not something I take lightly.
I think a lot of times, we, as runners, can get intimidated by other more experienced runners. I know I do but I also know the effort, strength and devotion it took for me to get to where I am now with my running. When I started this journey a year ago, I never could have imagined where it would take me. But when I look back at all the amazing gifts running has given me, the one I cherish most and will continue to build on is my self-confidence. Before I started to run I was able to slap on a smile and express faux-confidence but after this year, I know how to truly be confident in my own skin.
One of the first running blogs I ever read when I started this journey a year ago was Dorothy Beal’s blog Mile Posts. Her story was very similar to mine and I admired her drive and flat-out honesty. My favorite quote from her that has kept me going this year is “I run this body.” It’s me. I’m the one who had brought my body across two half-marathon finish lines and countless shorter races throughout this year. I’m the one who brought this body to the track after work on 90-degree summer days just so I could work on my speed. I ran this body through rain, sleet, snow, humidity and wind, just so I could prove to myself that I was strong enough to do it. I run this body and I will continue to run this body until I physically cannot take another step. I’ve still got a lot to learn but so far, I can say with confidence, I’ve enjoyed this journey to fit…