So, back in November, I wrote about how building a business is like training for a marathon. That’s when I started training. Before November, the longest consecutive, actual, RUN I had ever done was maybe 1.5 miles. Maybe 3 miles with a lot of walking in there.
Today, at 10:47AM I completed an 8.2 mile run. And it felt amazing. In hopes this doesn’t confuse you, I am NOT a runner, who is currently running.
Well, a lot of reasons, really. But here’s my story…
My entire life the only sport I have ever really been good at is golf. I’ve played golf since I could walk pretty much, played competitively in late elementary school through high school and then stopped when I went to college, mainly because I was burnt out. Now I can just enjoy it. However, I’m not saying that golf doesn’t require any sort of athleticism, because it does. You try walking 18 holes of golf when its 100 degrees out carrying an 80+ pound bag on your back. Trust me, you’ll sweat. But golf never required running.
I did play softball for a while and was pretty good at it, but could never make the high school team. Why? Because I couldn’t run the mile. I wanted to, but I would pass out half way through.
Growing up I had reactive airway disease. It’s basically an exaggerated form of asthma that can be brought on by a lot of things… running especially. I also have flat feet and was pigeon toed for the first 14 years of my life. Boo! So, needless to say, running in orthotics that were trying to straighten my feet out was pretty difficult. Oh, And I have scoliosis (still do), so running aggravated my back (it seems to be helping it now!). I’m not trying to give you my entire medical history, I’m just putting all of this in context for you.
Well, with all those things combined, yours truly was never a runner. I went through college, running very, very little. I would do the elliptical at the gym, but that was it. After college, same thing.
I will tell you that in the three years I’ve been out of college, my life has changed dramatically.
And then November of 2009 came. I was unemployed, broke, living in a new state, not a lot of friends, and my personal relationships began to suffer. So, I needed to do something different.
My cousins (who live all over the country) and I were talking and we decided that we were going to run a half-marathon together as a family. This was something that I thought to myself, there is NO way that I’m going to be able to do this. Then I stepped back, looked at myself and said, no, F THAT. I can totally do this. I’ve always been able to do whatever I have set my mind to. I’m exactly like my mother, if I am determined enough, I can seriously do anything.
So, I found a training program and I started. I trained hard through November and December. Got REALLY sick and had to take two weeks off. Trained hard in January and the first part of February, tore six tendons in my foot, had to take two weeks off. Then had to self-motivate to get myself back up into training mode.
Three weeks ago I realized, holy crap, I’m signed up to run the Tarheel 10 Miler on April 10th. I kicked into high gear. Before this morning, my longest consecutive run (without stopping) was six miles. I did a short run yesterday and my knees were killing me. But I said, NO knees! I am going to run 8 miles today whether you like it or not.
So, early this morning, I got up, took some calcium and advil, drank some water, mapped my route, and started running. And it was actually amazing. There were a couple hills that wanted to kick my ass along the way, but I conquered them. I ran through a beautiful part of UNC campus and Chapel Hill and just admired the flowers on the trees. The breeze was blowing, the air was still in that morning cool, and Eminem’s “Lose Yourself” started playing from my playlist. Cliche, yes, but that song is awesome to run to.
All in all, it was hard, but even when I was finished, I probably could have kept going if I wanted to. I only stopped twice to get a drink of water (free water cup in Subway, FTW!), but then I kept right back running.
What does all this really mean? Right now, life is stressful. I’m working all the time, my feet hurt, I’m single, I’m broke, and I wrecked my car on Tuesday. But I feel great. When I cross the finish line next Saturday, April 10th, at the Tarheel 10 Miler, I might cry. Who knows? Then, on Sunday, May 2nd, I will run 13.1 miles in the New Jersey, Long Branch Half Marathon with my family. This is something I really never thought I could ever do. Hell, I used to get made fun of all the time as a kid for not being able to run the mile in gym class because I’d have to stop after a lap to take a few puffs from my inhaler.
I’m running these races because I can, and I never thought I could.
Although the last few months have been emotionally taxing, I see the light at the end of the tunnel. I’ve grown closer to some of my friends, I’ve made new ones, and I’m learning more about myself as a determined young woman.
As my mom always used to say, “Hey muffin, this, too, shall pass.” These ones are for you.