This weekend I'll be heading to Philadelphia to run the North East Road Runners Club's Philly Marathon Tune Up. I'll be running part of the course! So very excited, there will definitely be a writeup on Monday or Tuesday.
I've definitely been hard on myself the past few weeks, and I was thinking a lot about why I'm running a marathon, and why I'm on this journey. A lot of my thoughts reminded me of a blog post I wrote for Daily Mile.
I started running in April of 2008. If you ask me why, I couldn’t really tell you. Growing up in Brooklyn, NY I remember watching parts of the NYC Marathon every year and thinking those people were CRAZY. But secretly, I knew I wanted to try it one day. In 2007 – 2008 I met several women who were marathoners, and they were all beautiful, confident, smart and successful. Women who in a way I envied. So one day I just did it, I went for that first innocent run. First it was a half mile, then a mile, then I could run 30 minutes, then I ran 5k after 5k. It felt amazing to be able to accomplish something that I wasn’t able to do two months ago. Hey, look out world! I can run 3 miles whenever I want, where ever I want!
But the real changes didn’t occur until I ran my first Half Marathon in 2009. I was a bit terrified, and more than a bit uncertain I’d even be able to do it. My friends, my boyfriend, heck, even my coworkers knew I could finish, but I just didn’t think I had it in me. I thought I would fail. I had only raced a 5k and an 8k before this. 2009 was the first year I had ever raced. I could spend hours coming up with poor excuses to tell myself why I couldn’t do it.
Running has changed my attitude about who I am as a person, and what I can accomplish. With every run I’ve become not only stronger physically, but mentally. Running has given me confidence in every day life. Maybe to non-runners that sounds ridiculous, but there is something about going out there and testing your mental and physical limits that helps you get a strong sense of who you are and what you can accomplish, and what you quickly find out is that your body can accomplish so much more than you think it can, and that fact I find truly amazing. The pain that you push through or those workouts that you’re “too tired” to do but do any way – those just validate that you are a strong person. There is definitely a “runners high” effect–you work out hard and feel the endorphins, but if you analyze what you did, you start to feel even better about it. I ran 6 miles today. Most people I know wouldn’t run that distance in the entire month unless they were being chased by an angry dog, and heck, three years ago I could have never run 6 miles, but I am a better me today because of it.
Mile by mile, I have learned a little bit more about myself, and I’ve realized I’m so much stronger now than I ever thought I would or could be. I’m no longer a timid teenager, but a confident, proud young woman. I’ve also realized that this journey will never be over–far from it. Right now I am in the process of qualifying for the 2011 NYC Marathon (run 9 NYRR qualifying races +1 volunteer) What’s funny is that even last year the thought of running 9 races seemed like so many, and as of April 3rd, I’ll have run my fifth qualifying race.