I used to HATE running. I mean really loathe it. I have always struggled with my weight and in college (circa 2003) I decided to take a conditioning class to fulfill a Phys. Ed requirement and jump start my latest attempt at losing weight.
I had no problem with the weight training and even enjoyed some of the aerobic classes we did, but when it came to running I was always the slowest and last to finish. It was embarrassing enough that I was close to 200lbs but to have all your classmates waiting for you (and not really cheering or encouraging you) was enough to make me cry. And I did. In front of the entire class at the final exam.
We had to do a one mile time trial on a humid May afternoon. I don’t do well in heat ever, much less with so much extra weight. So it took me nearly 20 painful, slow, agonizing minutes. I was done. I hung up my sneakers and vowed to never run again unless being chased by wolves…
Fast forward to my post college days, I was in a happy relationship but still on my up and down roller coaster with my weight so my, then boyfriend, now husband, and I started regularly working out. Slowly the weight began to come off little by little but I still REFUSED to run. Until one day my husband told me he was going to start running on the indoor track at our gym and he challenged me to run with him.
I am a competitive person by nature and something in that moment was like, you can totally do this. You’ve been working hard, you’re in better shape and healthier than you ever have been so why not try. So I did, and it sucked. But I kept trying and I will never forget the first time I ran, actually ran, a whole mile. I cried again but this time because I was so proud of myself.
That was the start. From there I decided to run my first race. It was a 4K and part of a larger race series here in Louisville. I thought if I can run on the track surely I can do this race, it’s not even three miles! What I didn’t account for was that it was December, cold, and snowy. I was not an outdoor runner by any stretch of the imagination. Despite the slushy conditions and the drizzle we got up, layered up, and did that race. I cried again at the finish line. I was once again so proud and amazed that I had done it! It was the moment I knew that I was going to be a runner for the rest of my life.
It’s been almost a decade since that race and I’m happy to say that I’ve kept the promise I made to myself at that finish line. I’ve now run countless 5ks, 10ks, 11 half marathons, and I’m currently training for my first marathon this spring!! I’ve also been blessed to be a mentor and coach for the No Boundaries Couch to 5k program as well as the Fleet Feet Half Marathon training program where I’ve been able to share my story and help others make the same life changing choice that I did.
It’s incredible the journey that running has taken me on. It’s been my comfort, joy, stress relief, my inspiration, humbling, and empowering all at once. My training partners have become my family, my tribe, and friends for life. If you had shown the girl I was back in college a picture of who I am now, she never would have believed it. I hardly can now but I am so happy that running found me and that I found the passion and purpose it can give.