I’ve always had an on again, off again relationship with running. Over the past 3 months, I’ve gotten back into it and I hope that we’ll stay together forever.
My journey with running began in second grade when I regularly ran around the elementary school track at recess and during gym. My teacher was proud to report to my parents that I was her second fastest student, beating all the girls and all but one boy. (I still remember his name btw, but that’s neither here nor there).
Despite my speed, I did not pursue running until high school when I joined the track team. Fast forward 7 years, I was no longer the fastest person on the track. Puberty hit and I avoided gym class and physical activity at all costs because I didn’t want to ruin my hair. Yes, I am embarrassed to say that I was that girl. I was also inevitably an out of shape girl. The 1 mile warm up in track practice nearly exhausted me. I trailed behind everyone and never seemed to improve, which frustrated me.
I continued with track until sophomore year when I got injured during a meet. It was freezing cold spring day. I now recognize that I was not properly dressed or warmed up. Nevertheless, I was scheduled to compete in the 400 and 100 hurdles. I can hardly recount the events of that day, but all I know is that as soon as I jumped up to leap over the hurdle, I ended up just tapped it slightly. Newton’s Laws prevailed and the hurdle came swinging back at me, knocking me to the ground.
I cried upon impact because it was such a hard fall. Somehow, I ended up spraining my ankle and banging up my knee to the point that I couldn’t straighten my leg for a few days.
What made this experience all the worse was the fact that I couldn’t even pick myself up off the track. My coach, who was out there on the field watching the meet didn’t come over to help me. I felt really alone and was thankful for my brother and the other coaches around that helped me up. Even so, I felt so betrayed. Once my injuries healed, I didn’t want to run anymore and I especially didn’t want to race.
It took me 3 years after my sophomore track season to run again. I was in college and decided that I should go to the gym. I began by running 1 mile. By the end of that mile, I was often tired and out of breath. Eventually, I ran 2, then 3, and 4 on a good day. I was on my way. I didn’t vary the pace in most of my workouts and ran about 2x a week, so it was difficult for me to see much improvement. I later turned away from running and focused more on weight training.
After being out of college for a little over a year, I felt like I hadn’t accomplished anything since my graduation. I couldn’t think of the last time that I had embarked on a mentally and physically challenging journey, so I decided to train for a half marathon in 8 weeks.
My training schedule was very intense and I was constantly tired, but the feeling of finally crossing the finish line was unreal. It was the first time in a long time that I felt joy from running and racing. I just knew that I had to do it again.
So now I’ve decided that 2017 will be my year. I will continue to race.
It’s unbelievable how much power I let resentment hold over me for so long. Not everyone you encounter in life will be there for you. And that’s ok. You just have to make sure these people do not derail you on your path to greatness.