Today, I did something I never could have even imagined or dreamed of doing. I ran a 15K! That is 9.3 miles. I’ve come a long, long way in the last 14 months, and I couldn’t be more proud. To go from being a morbidly obese person who hated any form of physical activity to running a 15K… I just can’t even believe it.
When I started running about 8 months ago, I couldn’t run for more than 30 seconds or so without stopping. But I did it anyways. I was out there 3-4 days a week working on it, running a minute, then two, then eventually one entire mile. I remember feeling such a huge sense of accomplishment at being able to do that as I could never do the mile run in high school and opted for the pacer test instead. Then, I was running two miles, then three… and you get the idea. I ran my first race, the Turkey Trot, on Thanksgiving at the end of 2012. It was a 2.5 mile run and I struggled tremendously, and now, just 5 months later, I ran a 15K! This was my longest distance to date (my previous record being 7 miles, run last weekend in preparation for today’s race).
I won’t lie and say it was easy or that any of this has been easy. It’s been a struggle every step of the way, and today was the ultimate test of my willpower and ability. I knew that if I believed in myself enough, I could do it… and so I did.
I don’t necessarily enjoy the act of running itself. Sometimes it’s fun, but it also hurts, and it’s hard! I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again… every time I run, it feels like the hardest thing in the world, but today definitely topped the cake. Around mile 7 my legs began to feel so heavy I didn’t want to take another step… but I did. And even though I don’t necessarily enjoy it, I do it for the feeling I get when I finish, the feeling that each time I run, I’m doing something I never thought I could or would do, and that makes it worth so much. It makes me feel on top of the world, like a better, more awesome me than I ever was before.
The race was as exhilarating as it was hard. Running up and down steep hills, a sense of relief filled me each time Scott and I passed another mile marker on the route (Scott’s my trainer and he ran with me today – couldn’t have done it without him). The markers for miles 7, 8, and 9 seemed to take forever to appear. Relief also filled me when we reached each of the three water break stands and I could rehydrate and stop for a breather. There were also a ton of kind volunteers out on the route who pushed us to keep going with their kind words, and there was even a “volunteer” dog stationed with his owner, donning one of the yellow volunteer shirts. When I felt like I couldn’t keep going, these shouts of encouragement helped keep me moving forward to the finish line, where they even called my name (how freakin’ cool).
To lose 105 pounds and complete a long distance run that most people can’t or won’t do shows me that mind over matter is everything. If you believe you can… YOU CAN! I promise. So many people believed in me that I started to believe in myself too. And with that simple act of believing in myself, I have accomplished this today, a feat I never imagined I could accomplish. I showed myself that I CAN and WILL do anything I dream of. I have my sights on a half-marathon next. And while that seems impossible to me right now, I am 100% sure I can and will do it. And even though I came in 649 out of 654 runners today, and took 2 hours and 4 minutes to complete the race… I don’t care. Today was about finishing, not about winning. Today was about proving to myself that I could do the seemingly impossible and I did it. I showed myself that it’s important to dream big and do hard things. It’s the only way you’ll become better.
I don’t know that I necessarily enjoyed myself while running today. I developed a huge, painful blister on my foot, and even discovered a bloody toe after the race… but you know what? Even through the pain, and the moments of self-doubt, I knew in my heart I would cross the finish line… and so I did. And there has rarely been a better feeling in the world.