Me: "I'm not meant to be a runner."
There was a time, in the not so distant past, that I would say that statement. And I would say it often. My husband would try to get me to run with him, and I would go out for a short while and come home with some kind of ache or pain. And I'd give up. I tried running when we lived in the apartments in South Charleston. I tried running when we lived in our condo in Hunters Ridge. And each time, I'd last about a week or two and give up, with an adamant declaration of "I'm not meant to be a runner."
And then one Sunday afternoon in March 2009, I was home alone and bored. It was a beautiful day and I didn't want to waste it sitting around inside. For some reason, and to this day I don't know what made me decide to do it, I thought I'd go for a run. I was Forrest Gump.
"That day, for no particular reason, I decided to go for a little run." - Forrest Gump
I put on some old running shoes and headed out the door. I made it just past the neighbor's house before I was out of breath and winded. I remember thinking, "Really? That's all the farther I can run? I can do better than that!" So I tried again. And again. And again. I made it around the neighborhood loop, alternating between running and walking from property line to property. I don't know how long it took me, and at the time I didn't know how far it was. But it seemed to take a long time and it felt really far. (And the hill - it about killed me.) But I wanted to do it again.
I don't know why that particular run on that particular day was any different than all the other times I had given running a try. But something about it awakened the competitive spirit in me. I wanted to be able to do better - to run farther and be faster. So I kept running. There have been highs and lows and times when I felt like I should give up. But I kept running.
In the almost 4 years between that March Sunday and now, I've kept running. I've struggled and I've triumphed. I've good runs and I've had bad runs. And I've transformed. To date, I've run in 18 5k's, 1 4.5 mile trail race (walk), 2 8k's, 2 10k's, 1 8 mile trail race, 2 15k trail races, 3 half marathons, and 1 virtual half marathon. The girl who swore she wasn't meant to be a runner became a runner.
"Now for some reason, what I was doing seemed to make sense to people... Somebody later told me it gave people hope. Now I don't know anything about that but..." - Forrest Gump
Somewhere along the way, and I really don't know how this happened, I also apparently became an inspiration. That's not a designation I'm particularly comfortable with, because I don't feel like I've really done anything particularly inspirational, other than just run. I just know that I made one "wouldn't it be neat if..." comment. And that comment started a whirlwind of change in three of my best friends.
Like me, these women never thought they could run, never thought they would ever want to run, and never thought that they ever would run. In short, they felt they weren't meant to be runners either. But, a change happened, and three more "I'm not meant to be a runner's" became runners.
As I sit here counting down the final 2.5 weeks until I get to run the Disney Princess Half Marathon with two of these women, I am amazed. Amazed at the transformation in them; amazed in the transformation in me. I have more self-confidence. More courage. More strength. More determination. More everything.
Who would've ever thought that something that boils down to simply putting one foot in front of the other could be so powerful? So life changing??
Me: "I AM a Runner."