When I think about my favorite running memories, two memories in particular hold a really special place in my heart. Arguably the hardest part about running for me was (LOL IS) overcoming the never ending stream of doubts. From my original doubt that I could never run a mile without stopping to walk to the doubt that I won't qualify for the Boston Marathon during this year's Chicago Marathon, the doubts never cease to rear their ugly heads.
If there is one thing I didn't expect, it was just how supportive and inclusive the running community actually is. I wrongly assumed that the running community was this cliquey group of athletic people who were born throwing footballs, sprinting around a track, or kicking a soccer ball. I convinced myself that I, the girl who would purposely sprain her ankle to get out of having to run in PE, would never belong to the running community. I wasn't just wrong, I was ignorant to think that runners were born runners. I was wrong to think that there wasn't a place for me at the running table just because I used to be the former President of the "I f*cking hate running club."
This week during Sister Sunday, my sister Samantha and I decided to try out Facebook Live. We started talking about half marathons and I ended up sharing two of my favorite running memories that I really owe to two amazing strangers within the running community.
During my first half marathon, I was really struggling around mile 11. I was going back and forth about dropping out and trying again when I was actually ready when a woman wearing a Team In Training charity singlet ran up to me. She told me that we'd been running next to each other the entire race and asked if I wanted to run together. She told me that she was struggling and was hoping running together would distract her from the doubts she was fighting. I almost tackled her when she told me because I too was struggling to think I was going to make it. Together we slowly made our way towards the finish line and without her support, I really don't think I would have ever made it to the finish line.
Then, a few months later, the same thing happened around mile 13 of my first marathon. I was already tired and downtown San Diego (home to the finish line) looked impossibly far away. I panicked and pulled over to the side of the road. Another runner ran up to me, grabbed my hand, and gave me a pep talk that belongs in a climactic moment of a Disney movie. It was incredible. He told me that I wasn't only half way there, I WAS HALF WAY DONE! And he reminded me that giving up wasn't an option. Without him, I think I would have crawled into a ball and given up right there at mile 13.
You're never alone when you're a runner. Now with social media, finding kick ass support systems and sub communities within our giant running community is easier than ever. I won't lie to you, running isn't easy. It's really, really, really hard. But it feels infinitely easier when you know that you're not alone.
The Chicago Marathon is going to be here before we know it! If you've been enjoying my BQ Or Bust journey, I encourage you to show your support with a $10 donation to Save the Children, the charity I've teamed up with to run both the Chicago Marathon and New York City Marathon with. They help children both here in the United States and all over the world get medicine, food, water, and opportunities. I'm really proud to be able to help raise money for such a great cause because no child should ever have to suffer. Every kid deserves a fighting chance and Save the Children is making that possible.
Thank you for your donation and thank you from the bottom of my heart for coming on this journey with me. It hasn't been easy but I feel nothing but love and support from every single one of you and that makes me want to fight that much harder.
Until next time, #RunSelfieRepeat.