Running is a funny thing.
When you first start, you think that it has to be the most awful form of exercise ever. Then you go a mile without stopping, then two, then three...and you start to feel awesome for it. Three years ago when I completed my first 5K in under 30 minutes I felt both sick to my stomach and amazing at the same time. I also vowed to never go farther than 3.1 miles.
Flash forward a few months, I came home from work with the urge to run, a weird desire for me (reference my fitness story), so I did. I ran 4 miles that day, and at the end of it, I didn't feel worn out or exhausted. I felt good. I felt strong! So I kept at it, and it became a form of exercise that I no longer loathed but rather began to enjoy. Typically, I'd run two or so miles twice a week, sometimes three on a Saturday. I was perfectly happy doing that and cheering on my friends who were bold enough to run half /full marathons (shout out to my amazing co-worker who runs them all the time!).
Then last summer, several girls in my small group convinced me to run the Route 66 Half Marathon with them. I thought I had convinced them otherwise several weeks before but they wouldn't let it go. They convinced me that I would eventually be the only one in the group to not have run a half marathon. Persuasion won. So on a Sunday afternoon, I found myself using my leftover Christmas money to purchase my spot to run a half marathon.
So despite my fears, which were plenty, I started training for this ridiculous goal of running 13 miles straight. I can't say I enjoyed every moment of the training, but I can say that I am in utter awe at the way God has designed our bodies. It simply blows me away that I could train my body from being totally worn out at 3 miles to doing alright at 6 miles. I used to cry about having to run a mile y'all, and yet my body made it to 13 freakin' miles! I never would have imagined I would run a half marathon. If you could find my elementary gym coach and tell her, she'd be floored. Because I was totally that kid who made my asthma seem so much more than it was in order to not run.
In November of 2015, I ran along side some amazing friends and completed a half marathon in 2 hours and 23 minutes. I nearly busted into tears upon reaching that finish line and I about fell over after crossing it, but I'm so proud of myself for doing it. To my friends, my co-worker with all the tips, to my husband and of course my sweet puppy girl (who ran every mile of my training with me), thank you! Thank you for pushing me and encouraging me. Thank you for cheering me on. Thank you for lifting me up. Thank you for believing in me. And to my GOOD GOOD Father, thank you for giving my body the strength to do miraculous things! You are the true champion in me.
One of my favorite parts about running the half marathon was the insane amount of people standing on their front porches, holding up banners, giving out water/snacks/beer to the runners. I've never liked playing any sport, basically all of my life, but running is different. Running is about a community. It's not about the winning team and losing team (though there is a fastest/slowest runner). Everyone cheers on everyone. I love how it's not a huge battle of who can beat who. I ran most of my training miles by myself but anytime I saw another runner out on the streets, they waved and encouraged me. That is an amazing feeling!
So to any of you out there, you know who you are- the one that was the last kid picked for the kickball teams back in school (yeah me too!), you can do this! Get your running shoes laced up and just go for it! You've got a butt load of people who I am certain will cheer you on!