This is an entry I wrote for a running magazine which never got published. I thought I would share it here and maybe it would encourage someone who is thinking about running, to actually do it! Here is my experience and how running has changed who I am.
Running is a mental game that you are playing every time you lace up your shoes and step out onto the pavement. Your inner mind is battling your physical self. When I decided to train and run a half marathon, I had many doubts. I had never run more than 1 mile in my life. I called myself a “runner hater” and a “never runner.” Through my journey I’ve experienced, on many occasions, my body telling me to stop while my mind yelled keep going. I specifically remember one instance when I pushed myself to the limit in more ways than one… I wrote in my running journal:
November 2012: “Since I started this journey two months ago I have absolutely become mentally stronger, but I am still struggling with the physical demands that running has on my body. At this point in the game I have reached 6 miles of constant running. My goal is 13.1. I will have not won until I reach that goal at the New Year’s Race in LA. Until then I will continue to practice. Two evenings ago I went out for a quick 3 mile run before dinner. The distance had been so easy in the past, but that night it was far from easy. I felt like I regressed back to when I first started. I felt defeated and unsure if I would ever reach my goal. My body was screaming at me to stop, my mind was screaming not to give up. The battle that was going on in my head was exhausting and I became emotional. I didn’t stop. I have never stopped, until the goal I set was reached. But when I completed those 3 miles my entire body was upset. I sat in a cold bath and cried. I cried out of frustration. I cried because the fear of not being able to complete the half marathon was starting to overwhelm me. I sat in the tub for 15 minutes and felt sorry for myself. When I turned the water off, grabbed my towel, and stepped onto the cold floor, I stopped crying. I looked in the mirror and told myself that this is only a hiccup in the plan. I went about the rest of my night. I ate and laughed with my family and as I climbed into bed, I felt encouraged once again to work towards the goal.”
I’ve realized throughout this process that there will be days that you feel like giving up. There will be moments when you doubt your ability to complete the task at hand. You will cry because there are too many emotions to deal with. You may get hurt and then you will slightly heal just enough to keep going. There will be moments of triumph that make you forget about the moments of failure. And as you slowly inch closer to your goal, you will become more in tune with your needs and your understanding of just how strong your mind can be.
Like anything in life, a half marathon is a process. It’s a process that challenges your mind, body and soul. If and when you finish what you’ve started, you will be a different person. You will be stronger than before because if nothing else in your life has tested your determination, this will.
I went on to finish this half marathon. My time was 2:28 and I never stopped or walked. I ran up the hills of Dodger Stadium constantly telling myself how powerful I was as I reached the top of each of those hills. When I crossed the finished line I was absolutely changed. I had a new found respect for who I was and who I wanted to become. Running became my therapy and my addiction. The biggest physical accomplishment of my life was achieved after simply deciding to put on my running shoes.
It isn’t easy but I promise it’s beyond worth it. Will you become a runner?