All my life I hated running. I was one of the kids in middle school and high school who walked the mile fitness test every year (and I despised the kids who got those awards for being the fastest and most fit). But I secretly wanted to be on of those people who was pounding the pavement in the sun, in the rain, throughout the seasons. In my mind, runners were the epitome of mentally and physically fit.
After surviving pregnancy and labor with yoga and breathing, I developed a new sense of confidence in the power of my body. I began to realize that all the old limits I set for myself—that I was weak, that I was slow, that I was inferior—were all in my head. I no longer had to be the girl who couldn’t. I was a powerful woman. And I was inspired to push myself in ways I never had.
So I decided my challenge would be to run a 5K by my 30th birthday. I took it slow and gave myself 6 months, but within weeks I was running more than a mile (here's the running plan I used to get me started). Each day on the treadmill, I became more confident in my strength. I visualized the word strength over and over to push the pain in my body away, turning myself into a stronger me, into the runner I wanted to become.
Running has become a drug for me. Early in every run, my body whispers, “It’s time to stop. Walk. You can’t run anymore.” My muscles ache; I can feel my tendons moving and stretching. But I breathe in the cool air and exhale the burning I feel throughout my body. I think, “Strength. Keep breathing. Keep going.” And then comes the warm rush of adrenaline that passes through my body—it heals all of the aches and I feel a moment of absolute silence and peace. I don’t think of anything—no anxiety, no worries, no concerns over who I am—I don’t feel anything except for my breath flowing through my body, and the comfort of the repetitive sound of my feet floating over the pavement.
Through running, I have found my stride, my power, another part of myself.
I am in no way the fastest runner; in fact I'm usually near the back of the pack at races. My fastest mile ever was a 9:30 (thanks to trainer Becky Parks, before her coaching I was running a 12 minute mile). My half marathon time was a little over 3 hours and I didn't run the entire race, but instead used the run-walk-run method.
So if you’re looking to read an elite runner's blog, that's not me. My goal is to just enjoy running and love the body that allows me to continue running.