When I started running, I didn’t have plans to become a runner. I didn’t have a goal in mind or a distance I hoped to work towards. I didn’t even plan to run regularly. I was just desperate enough to start running.
It was Thanksgiving Day and I was missing my brother who had passed away three years prior. Holidays are always difficult without him but this particular Thanksgiving was shaping up to be incredibly overwhelming. I was living at home with my parents at the time, holding myself in a pause while I tried to figure out what the hell I wanted to do with my life. I had an undergraduate degree in Theater that felt like a degree from Hogwarts. I had no career path and I could feel myself undoing all my hard work and reverting to old habits. I was panicked, stuck, grieving and feeling hopeless.
Running wasn’t easy. It didn’t come naturally to me and honestly, I hated every second of those first two weeks. I was slow, I couldn’t run a mile without stopping and I was sore every single day. But luckily I was bored, disappointed and desperate enough to try something new. Running gave me something to feel proud of, a sense of accomplishment I never knew I needed. Being able to tell people I could run 3 miles without stopping became my light at the end of the tunnel. As I continued to run, I started to feel like that strong confident woman who disappeared after I graduated from college.
Here’s something running has taught me, there is no such thing as ready. The timing is never going to be right and it’s absolutely impossible to know what is going to happen next. Whenever I do something I like to feel ready and prepared. I like to know what to expect and that I can exceed expectations. With running, I have to let it all go. I have my training plan and I know what’s expected but that “perfect” that I imagine in my brain doesn’t exist. Perfect only happens if I show up and try. Are there better days than others? Absolutely. But it’s both those incredible, blissful fun runs and those dreadful soul crushing ones that consistently remind me that that I am stronger, tougher and better than defeat or whatever limitation I've placed on myself.
When I crossed the finish line of that first marathon my entire life path shifted. That was the day I figured out that I needed to spend the rest of my life saying yes to the fears and doubts that were consuming me. There’s no right or wrong when it comes to running, there’s only one foot in front of the other. You can plan for tomorrow but you have to give your everything you have today. I’ve spent a lot of time shying away from anything that was exceedingly difficult or that illuminate my flaws and shortcomings. It’s easy to dig yourself a deep hole, crawl into it and hope no one notices you. It’s easy to say, “The timings not right” or “I’m lost.” Don’t take the easy way out. Drag all of your baggage, all of your fears and all of your short comings into everything you do. It’s OK to be flawed. It’s OK to fail. And it's OK to not know what you're doing.
You will never know what you are capable of or where your limits actually are if you don’t set out to find them. There’s no secret, no shortcut and no easy way out. The only way forward is to roll your sleeves up and get after it. Do the things that scare the shit out of you. Do the things that feel impossible. Surprise yourself. Believe in yourself. Be your own light at the end of the tunnel.
That being said I’m doing something terrifying and I need your help. I threw my name into the Goblet of Fire and I need your support and votes. Every year Runner’s World magazine holds a nationwide contest to find the two most awesome runners in America. Why did I enter? I want to get more people looking in the mirror and loving and believing in what they see. My entire mission is dedicated to getting people to say yes to themselves and to do the things that they don't believe they can do like training to run a marathon or half marathon.
I want to change the way people who don’t run see the running world. I want to show people just how much fun running can be. That is why I would love your vote. That is why I decided to enter the Runner’s World Cover Search. Voting takes less than 20 seconds and you don’t even need to give them an email address! So if you have 15 seconds please vote and vote daily. Just CLICK HERE or click on the picture below.
Your support means the world to me. Until tomorrow, #RunSelfieRepeat.