It doesn’t matter how many times I’ve said it, when I talk about running, people still say to me, “I could never do that. I’m not a runner.”
Three years ago, I was not a runner either.
Not only was I NOT a runner, I really hated the thought of it. It made me flashback to gym class and the required mile and always finishing near the back. It made a little fearful because of my mild asthma. Looking back, I probably hated the idea of running most because I just knew I would fail.
When my husband started running in January 2012, I was eight months pregnant and there was no way I was going to be working out with him. But I was inspired by him. He, too, was a not a runner, but just started small and was running a 10 mile race within a few months. More importantly, he had greatly improved his health and seemed to be loving the change. Simply put, I wanted what he had.
I had our third son March 7, 2012 and I started the Couch to 5K program on April 16th.
I still didn’t consider myself a runner for a quite a while, but April 16th is the date everything changed because I took the first step…literally.
There was nothing magical about my journey towards becoming runner, but it was miraculous and it continues to be so. Other than asthma, I had no major health conditions holding me back, but I was not in good physical shape and I was about 20 pounds heavier than I am now. Most of my roadblocks were mental and I had to work hard to get over myself.
As I look back now, the key to going from a running-hater to a runner for me was going SLOW. I’m not talking about my pace, although it is important to take it easy as you get started. Going slow for me meant giving my body time to adjust to this new lifestyle. Couch to 5K was a great way to force myself to go slow. It taught me to keep moving forward, no matter how small the steps.
I ran three to four days every week. I had a husband who supported me and we both made sure we got our workouts in. I had a friend who I texted for accountability. Some days felt easy and some felt incredibly hard, but I just kept going.
I ran my first 5K in July of 2012, just over three months after I started running and I think that’s when I realized: I was a runner. Some people think being a runner means you are fast or you run long, but that’s not true. If you run, you are a runner. And that’s what I am now.
Three years later and I’m training for my eighth half marathon. My longest run was 16 miles, just this past weekend. I’ve done countless other races because I LOVE the atmosphere and the clear goal. I have the best running friends and it is a special treat when I get to run with The Hubby, even though I know he’s slowing down to stay with me.
There are countless things we would never experience in life if we used the same excuses we use for not running. What if I never sat down to write this blog because “I’m just not a writer?” Or didn’t get up in front of that group to share my story because “I am not a speaker?”
It’s true: running is NOT for everyone. There are medical conditions that sometimes prevent it. I have a dear friend who would love to run, but her doctor has advised her not to because of knee and shin issues. But she is finding other ways to be physically active and I’m cheering her on in that.
It saddens me, however, to think of all the people secretly wishing they could be a runner when their mind is the only thing getting in the way.
Running has brought me freedom. It feels like therapy. It is a great escape. And it has proven to me that I am stronger than I ever imagined, both physically and mentally.
As I celebrate this third anniversary, I am beyond grateful that I started running when I was a not runner. It is the most important part of this story for me and it really did change everything. I think it could for you, too.
If you’re interested in reading more about my running journey, check out these posts: