Four years ago, I went for my first run. Well, ok, I wouldn't exactly call it a run. It was more like a brisk three mile walk with a few moments of jogging. And It was horrible. It was nothing like what you see in the movies. You know what I'm talking about, when the main character just can't take it anymore and runs Forest Gump style until the uplifting fight song comes to an end and the actor looks back with a "I'm a different person now, see, I'm smiling" look on their face? Yeah, that didn't happen for me.
Despite the fact that I could barely make it down the block, I was sore the next day from my "run". And then, for some crazy reason, I decided to try it again. I didn't have an app to track how far I was going or how slowly I death marched, I just went. And every time I got back home from my painful two-three mile pilgrimage, I felt a tiny weight lift off of my shoulders. So I kept going.
The toughest part about getting started for me was feeling totally and completely alone. When I went looking for advice on running blogs or Runner's World, no one seemed to struggle as much as I did. All I saw were smiling runners who looked really, really athletic and ran fast as lightning. All I wanted was tips on how to survive or for someone to tell me that I wasn't doing it wrong, it was supposed to feel like I was moving through peanut butter.
When I launched Run, Selfie, Repeat, one of my goals was to speak as openly and honestly about my running struggles as possible because I think there's great strength in being vulnerable. I know that for every single smiling selfie I post, there were twenty more where I looked exhausted and dead inside. I've cried on more street corners than I can count and I almost always end every single run on the ground.
Look, I won't sugar coat it, running is really, really, really f*cking hard. But so is life! And anything that is worth doing won't be easy!
Some people are born runners. They're naturally athletic and they take to running like a fish to water. But if you don't have an athletic bone in your body, that doesn't mean that you can't be a kickass runner. It just means you have to work harder because some runners are made. I was made. It took blood, sweat, mistakes, injuries, and dilemmas like finding the right pair of shoes and learning how to fuel but at the end of the day, the most important lesson was learning how to believe in myself.
If you're looking to get started, here are three pieces of advice,
1. Start today.
You don't have to go far and you sure as hell don't have to go fast, all you really need to do is go. Run as far as you can and then take a walking break. Then, when you catch your breath, run again. Run and walk until you're ready to go home. Don't pay attention to time or distance. It doesn't matter if you go 10 minutes or 60, just go.
2. Set a goal.
Whether your goal is to run a 5K, a 10K, or a half marathon, sign up for a race and hold yourself and your training accountable. It's not going to be easy but remind yourself that tomorrow is going to come whether you go for it or not. Why not start today and start working towards a terrifying goal? You'll be crossing that finish line before you know it, I promise.
3. Embrace your pace.
Get ready for 10-15 minute miles. Don't worry about your pace, embrace it! Fast or slow, a mile is a mile. Celebrate the fact that you're doing it and throw the word "slow" out of your vocabulary. Just keep putting one foot in front of the other.
There you go. No fancy new running words, no special shoes or sports bras or spandex yoga pants. Just go. The rest will come soon enough.
Until next time, #RunSelfieRepeat.