I have said more than a time or two that I’m not a “runner.” I keep a fairly slow pace and I’ve always had it in my mind if you are a ‘runner’ you should be good at it, and I’m not. I’m not fast, in fact I still struggle to get under a 12 minute pace, I’ve still never ran a mile in less than 10 minutes and I’ve never looked around at the scenery and thought I love that I’m out running. Shouldn’t I at least enjoy it to be a ‘runner?’
But here I am, entering week 3 of my half marathon training and if nothing else, I am starting to feel like an athlete. I have logged right around 40 miles in the last 3 weeks. Yesterday I ran 7 miles! The only time I stopped was for a quick water break right around the 6 mile marker. I’ve come a long way since the first time I ran last year when I struggled to make it from 1 telephone poll to the next.
So you might wonder why I bother running when I really hate it so much and I have some really good reasons. The obvious, it burns a lot of calories and is helping me tone up some of those tough to tone spots, but it’s more than that. First, it is a goal I have set for myself. I want to run a marathon. I started me weight loss journey at 26.2 pounds and to me running 26.2 miles would be coming full circle. Second, it challenges me like nothing else. I have to force myself to get out and run, the entire time I’m running, I have to will myself to keep going and when I’m done, I feel accomplishment I can’t explain. When I run, I push my brain and my body to do things I never could have imagined I was capable of doing. It makes me feel empowered, strong and it makes me feel like I can conquer the world; like anything I put my mind to doing is mine to accomplish.
I spent a lot of years not challenging my body or my mind. I used the pounds as an excuse and my self-esteem dwindled until I saw myself as nothing more than a failure. I had failed my husband, turning from the healthy active woman he married to a couch potato who didn’t want to do anything and who only felt sexy looking at pictures of my past self; I failed my children, not spending time with them playing on the floor because my feet fell asleep, not playing at the park because I was winded after just walking from the car; and I was failing myself, for all the above reasons and so many more. I was not the woman I wanted to be and I was convinced I never could be.
Even after seeing success on the scale, this change in my mentality has only come from working out, and nothing proves to me what I’m capable like running does.
So far in this training I have learned where my wall is. Right around 2-3 miles I just want to quit, I want to give up, I want to go back to the couch and put my feet up, but when I push through that, I can go beyond my wildest dreams. Along the way yesterday I kept saying to myself, I’ll break for a walk after 3 miles, I’ll walk for a minute when my pace drops off, I’ll run to that sign, I’ll stop at the top of this hill… and I never did. When I started this training, I still doubted it was even remotely possible for me to run a half marathon. I mean, do you know how far 13.1 miles actually is?! But I’ve got this. No more sitting around letting the world pass me by, I want to be out moving, even if it is only at a 5 mph pace. It may take me a little longer, but I’ll get there, and then I will keep going. And who knows, maybe someday I’ll see myself as a ‘runner.’