I’ve never considered myself a runner.
Although I’ve been running since I was 13 or 14, I was a casual runner at best, occasionally committing for a couple weeks to keep my weight in check. Exercise was always the first thing to go as soon as the going got tough and school work piled up. In high school, I joined track during the spring of my senior year to begin an exercise routine and somehow ward off the “freshman fifteen” eerily looming ahead with college.
Both of my parents were runners. Every morning at 5:30am, rain, snow, or sun, they would be out on the road together. Weekends consisted of races or a “quick six (miles)” to train for the next race; running trophies filled the shelves in our basement. While they implored me to become a runner, I never felt the enthusiasm or the drive to push myself. Far from a natural athlete, running was sweaty, difficult, and something I generally sucked at. I felt slow, lethargic, you name it (e.g. fat, lazy, tired, overr it). I had to push myself to even run a mile, and not surprisingly, I never passed the mile run during school.
During college, running was an outlet to deal with stress. Feeling overwhelmed about school, job, personal life, body image, etc. - a run was a one-way ticket to some therapy without the therapist. I would run until I was too tired to be stressed about whatever was bothering me pre-run. I still wasn’t fast, still wasn’t going far, and I still didn’t have an exercise routine. Grad school was more of the same. Stress. Academics. No time.
A full year out of academia means that for the first time, I haven’t had the excuse of school work to derail me. Which brings me to present day: I’ve started training for a half marathon. All things considered, it’s taken ten years to get to this point – and I’ve got about ten weeks until the big day – October 10th.
One of the reasons I’ve committed to running throughout the years is the lack of commitment (go figure). The only thing in between you and the road every day is getting dressed and walking out the door. You don’t need to pay any fees, sign a contract, or buy expensive gear to be a runner. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve 100% gone out and spent plenty of money on new running shoes, sweat-wicking lululemon tanks, and even running socks – all in the spirit of “getting motivated.” But in reality, you just need to do it.
You just need to show up.
That mentality has recently been my daily motivation, both with my training program and life. Showing up to every day with intention about who I am and the kind of person I want to be tomorrow. Just because I never passed the mile run in high school, doesn’t mean I can’t run 13.1 miles in October.
I’m only in week two of training, but it has already given me a lot of perspective. Most importantly, it has reaffirmed that I am in control of my life and reminded me how change often doesn’t happen overnight. Who we are today is a culmination of all the years, days, and hours leading up to now. Who we are tomorrow depends on today.
We choose whether to maintain the status quo or to move toward the best version of ourselves. Regardless of what might happen on the road, I get dressed, get out the door and try my best. The choice is mine. Every. Day.