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.