This is a post I wrote for a new Blogger friend, Ashley. She authors with a cute and well-read fashion blog called Flats to Flip Flops. She asked me to write this for her weekly Thoughtful Thursday series. If you get a minute check out her blog. It’s entertaining and useful.
Listen, if there’s one thing I have learned in the last five years, it’s that you can do whatever you want to do. Even if you think you can’t, you actually can.
I know this is true because in 2007 I ran a full 13.1 miles without stopping. Yes I did, and it was my first race ever.
I had a friend who convinced me that I could do a Half Marathon if I wanted to and if I trained for it. For months I laughed her off, but then she told me this. “I did it when I weighed 250 pounds; you can totally do it!” She was right, if she did it, I could too, if I tried.
On New Year’s Eve 2006 I paid the $80 and signed up. What a resolution! My friend gave me a training schedule and I started to run. I had actually started running the month before. I could run the length of two houses. The next week I could run four house-lengths and in just a few weeks I was running a mile.
When I got the training schedule, I decided to commit to it. It was honestly more running than I cared to do at the time, but it was only a 12-week training schedule which meant in 12 weeks it would all be over and I’d never have to run again if I didn’t want to. I could handle that.
So I ran. I ran almost every night. I built my endurance week by week. To my surprise, before too long, I could run three miles! When I started, I figured I would run three miles and then walk one over and over until the race was finished. But, after I started running three consecutive miles, I thought maybe I could run farther before I started walking. After several more weeks I could run five miles, then six and seven. I was SHOCKED! I never knew I was a runner. I was actually enjoying it too. I felt fantastic about myself afterward! Feeling GOOD about myself was a new and welcome sensation.
Race day was amazing! I smiled with personal pride a lot but by the last mile I was in tears. Tears because my body hurt and tears because I could run anyway. I couldn’t believe I was about to finish a half marathon and I had run the ENTIRE way!
Less than a year before this event, I was such a mess. I suffered from a bout of post-partum depression and I was as heavy as I had ever been. Through the help of my amazing husband, I recovered from the depression. Through the help of Weight Watchers, I lost 40 pounds. And, with the encouragement of my amazing friend I had just run an entire half marathon!
I’ll never forget the euphoria I felt at the finish line of that race. Nothing since has compared to the feeling I had then, and I’ve done a LOT of things including a 100 mile bike race, climbing to the top of Mount Timpanogos (11,749 feet) and several triathlons. But honestly I think the Half Marathon has given me the confidence to try anything. This year I’m on a Half Iron Man Relay team. I’ll be swimming 1.2 miles in open water!
I’ve never considered myself an athlete, I’ve never been athletic before, but I am now.
If I can do this, anyone can. There is nothing special about me. I do not have a runner’s physique or any special athletic gifts.
I would tell anyone to find something they were sure they couldn’t do and sign up for it. Just commit to something and work at it. You might be surprised at what you find you are able to do.