How I found my heart through running

(via Lululemon)

I wrote this post as a guest blog for ViewSPORT’s blog. I hope you enjoy!

Most runner’s stories start off the same- “If you told me a year ago I’d be training for a marathon I’d think you were crazy…” and “I was never a runner but then…” or “I absolutely hated running until…” While this could seem like a formulaic response meant to inspire non-runners that they too can fall in love with running, it’s not. There’s a reason every runner has a story that begins like this and well, mine is pretty much the same.

I have always been into fitness and working out but I was never the best athlete. In high school I was on the varsity tennis team, but played second doubles when I was even picked to play in a match. I was captain of the lacrosse team my senior year but only because I was one of the oldest girls on the team. More than anything (hear comes the cliché response) I hated running. I made up excuses like, “it hurts my knees” or “I can’t breathe when I run,” just to get out of it. I always envied runners and wished I could share that gift but every time I tried going for a run, I’d get frustrated with my breathing and quit. I was a quitter.

In my senior year of college I had a change of heart and was really into working out. I went to the gym almost every day and attended a cardio kickboxing class four or five times a week. I LOVED kickboxing. It was a high intensity cardio class that started me on my journey to being in the best shape of my life. I was feeling great until the end of February came along and the stress of graduation and other events in my personal life left me feeling unmotivated, depressed and lacking in self confidence. After weeks of feeling useless and sorry for myself I decided I needed to do something bigger than myself, set a goal, reach it and regain my confidence.

So I started a couch to 5k program. It doesn’t sound like much but this was a huge deal for me. I started the program, registered for a 5k and started running. It took awhile for me to get into it but I remember the day I fell in love with running. I went to the gym with my friend and I was supposed to run for 30 minutes on the treadmill which would work out to 3.1 miles. My friend was working out somewhere else in the gym and wasn’t ready to leave when I had reached 30 minutes. But I felt fine so I decided to keep running. That day I ran 4.5 miles, a huge accomplishment for me because that was the most I’d ever run in my life.

All of this was less than six months ago and now I’ve PRed with a 5k time of 26:58, I’m gearing up for a half-marathon at the end of September and have begun training for a marathon in November. A lot of non-runners think runners are just plain crazy. I mean who would want to voluntarily run an endless amount of miles, suffer from blisters, tight muscles and other injuries and for what, to reach the finish line? Well most runners I know, including myself, would tell you it’s so much more than that. Running gave me clarity. It gave me something I could achieve on my own. Something I was finally good at. But more than the peace that I found while running, running helped me find my heart and my passion. Now I run not for time or to get a new PR but I run with heart.

Monday Motivation: No matter what, you would still run

I apologize for this the tardiness of this week’s Monday Motivation but today was quite a whirlwind. My final semester of college is about to come to an end and I am set to graduate in less than two weeks so my workload has been a bit crazy as of late. But today I got great news, I was offered a reporting position at a small local newspaper (yay!). Also, I ran 3.5 miles and felt fantastic. I hope your Monday was just as good. Here’s a little motivation to carry you through the week:

Monday Motivation: Reason for running

via Pinterest

I’ve decided to start a new series every Monday called “Monday Motivation.” No one likes Mondays, and we all know waking up for that early morning Monday run is probably the hardest run of the week. However, the way you start off your Monday determines how the rest of your week will shape up- so, enter Monday Motivation. Basically, every Monday I’ll either write up a short post about reasons to run, or maybe post a motivational image or quote, whatever it is, I hope you’ll use it as fuel for your week.

For my first Monday Motivation post I thought I’d tell you a story about something that happened recently that has given me even more reason to run. People always say a reason to run is to run for those who can’t. I always thought this was a nice reason but never really had a personal connection to it until a few weeks ago.

I was out with friends on a Friday night and my friend wanted us to meet a guy she had been talking to for a couple of weeks. We drove to his apartment and he met us outside so he could move his motorcycle so we’d have a spot to park. We were a group of five girls so when he got on the bike, of course we were impressed. He told us a bit about his riding experience and how much he loved his motorcycle. We went inside and my friends and I got to know him over the course of the night. His name was Chris* and he was a senior Kinesiology major, about to graduate in one month. After he graduated he aspired to become a physical trainer to help people who have been injured recover and get back to normal health. The night went on and we eventually all went our separate ways. My friend was going to see him the next day after he went on a morning ride with a few of his friends. But while he was out on his ride he got into an accident. We found out that he was in the hospital and was permanently paralyzed from the waist down.

My friends and I were all in absolute shock. This was someone I barely knew, I didn’t even know his last name, and he was the same age as me, about to graduate from college, with his entire future ahead of him. Now everything he had ever wanted seemed so out of reach. I couldn’t believe that something so awful would happen to someone with such a bright future ahead of him.

There’s no explanation for why these things happen but all we can do is make the most of every moment. So I run for Chris because he no longer can.

I run because I can.

When I get tired, I remember those who can’t run,

what they’d give to have this simple gift I take for granted,

and I run harder for them.

I know they would do the same for me.

*Names have been changed.