So if you’ve been hanging out with me recently, you may have noticed that one of my pastimes happens to be running. And it’s true, running has been an outlet for me for many years now. It has been a reliable and trustworthy friend that I have been able to turn to when I’ve needed some serious sanity saving.
But I want to let in you on a secret…it wasn’t always that way.
In fact, all through college I was a proud card carrier member of the “I Don’t Sweat…Ever” club. And I held that title with PRIDE! Don’t get me wrong, I’d workout occasionally to try and fit in a bikini better, not to be healthy. That would have been silly…
Even though I wasn’t really running in college, that’s still where my running journey began.
Funny thing about going to nursing school, everybody I met there was concerned about health. Go figure. And it was in nursing school that I made friends with some awesome girls who were avid runners. Like marathon style runners. I completely believed they were crazy, but they took really good notes and we car pooled, so friends we became!
Even though I joke about it now, I remember being really inspired by my nursing friends. To them, running was something they loved. Something you could tell they were really passionate about. So when the whole group decided to do a Christmas 5K together, I agreed. It was only 3.1 miles. And I’d get a free t-shirt with Santa on it. No big deal right?
I tried “training” for it. And by training, I mean shopping for new sneakers.
As you can imagine, my first 5K experience didn’t go so well. My girlfriends tried to stay together in the beginning, but one mile in and I knew I was in trouble. They graciously went on without me, while I walked/jogged the remainder of the race. I tried not to think about the fact that half of my group had finished the race by the time I hit my second mile, or the fact that I was one of the last people to finish at all.
We had a good time, and I laughed it off like it was no big deal. Really to me, it WAS a big deal. It wasn’t peer pressure, because my friends genuinely didn’t care (they’re cool like that). Sure it bothered me that I couldn’t complete 3 miles. But more than that, it bothered me that I had set out to do something and wasn’t able to do it.
Pretty much the next day I tracked down a Couch25K podcast and went to work (awesome resource, highly recommend, but that’s another post for another time). And I wanted to die…
I survived my program, ran another 5K, and crushed it. But I also decided running should only be reserved for contenders in the Hunger Games. I threw my sneakers in the very back of my closest, where they lived contently for the next two years.
Two years later, Phillip and I moved to North Carolina, living in my parents’ RV, on a grand adventure where we had no money and didn’t know a soul. I soon realized that being cooped up in an RV where you have no friends or money, especially when Phillip was working, got really old really fast. I also noticed there were no working out options available with no money for a gym membership and no room for a workout video. You know what was available to me? A giant park and those dand-gum running sneakers!
Sneakers: 1/Allie: 0
The funny thing was, I didn’t hate like I did before. Maybe it was the different setting, or my desperation to do something to quell my boredom, either way I found with each passing mile I was beginning to like it. Even crazier was when I started surpassing the 3 mile mark. The first time I hit 5 miles, you’d have thought I’d won the lottery!
Although I had initially set off running to have something to do, and try and stay a smidge on the skinny side, I very quickly realized it had given me so much more than that.
It taught me that being skinny doesn’t equal healthy. You can be the skinniest person in the room and still not be healthy. See first 5K experience…
It provided me with mental clarity. No matter what was bothering me, there was something about repeatedly beating up the pavement that just seems to work everything out.
It gave me confidence. After my first half marathon, I felt like I could do anything. And after running 13.1 miles…you know what? You CAN do anything!
It was a way for me to honor people I had cared for. As a pediatric ICU nurse, I took care of children everyday who would never have the opportunity to run and play. That’s something you carry with you. So when I run, I run for each and every one of those children.
We’ve come a long way running and I. There are seasons where we part ways, but we always find our way back to each other. It’s not perfect, but its perfect for me, and that’s all that really matters, right?
Running isn’t for everyone, but if you have ever thought about it but not tried it, or tried it and had a poor experience, I encourage you to give it another shot! Running is a journey, the finish line is wonderful but it’s how you get there that counts.
And above all else, whether you choose to run or not, I encourage you to do something today to benefit you in a healthy way! Get up! Get active! Life’s too short to not take care of yourself.
So what are your thoughts on running? Have your own pair of sneakers hiding in the closest? Have an an alternative to running that you love? I’d love to hear all about it in the comments below!!
Stop back by next week where I chat about the two tools that helped me achieve my running goals!