Becoming a runner.

If you would’ve told 13 year-old me that one day I’d have run 5 half marathons, countless 5Ks and am training for a marathon, I would’ve laughed and said “wrong person.”

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Middle school cross country: second to last place, contemplating purposely spraining my ankle so I could end the season early (no joke).

Yet here I am, excited and ready to train for the Chicago Marathon!

Running was not always a passion or even tolerance of mine. Like the caption above alludes to, I hated running so much that I almost sprained my ankle on purpose to get out of it. Really. Side note: why the hell did I sign up for cross country you may ask? I don’t even know.

I started getting into running my sophomore year of high school. However, running soon became too much of a weight loss thing and it wasn’t promoting a healthy relationship with my body.

Fast forward a few months. I was feeling better about myself, however, I had gained more weight than I was comfortable with. However, I couldn’t let myself think of running as a weight loss tool, because it would spiral me in a bad direction, again. Instead, my friend Ashlyn and I decided that we were going to start running together as a social activity and a way to get healthy (note: getting healthy and losing weight are not mutually exclusive!). Running became a way for me to set goals and gain better discipline. And having a buddy really helped me stay motivated!

Eventually, we ran our first half marathon, the North Shore Classic.

June 2011 – Of course we wore matching shirts!

I went on to run 4 more half marathons, including 13.1 Chicago in 2012 (where I unknowingly had pneumonia, whoops), Go Girl Columbia in 2013 (with my mom and it thunderstormed for the last 7 miles), North Shore Half in 2014 (with my mom) and again this past June (where I PR’d but had a bruised tailbone). I really have bad luck in races.

After a lot of training and soul searching, I’ve realized that I actually love running. It eases my anxiety because it’s something I can control. Running helps me set goals. Running gives me time to think about nothing or contemplate everything. As an introvert, running’s good for my soul.

Looking back on Fall 2011 to now, I’ve noticed significant weight loss. I actually went down 2-3 sizes (depending on the day, let’s be real) but I’ve done so in a healthy way. And I’ve also noticed that when I’m running and staying active, I’m a happier person, but also more content with myself, no matter my pants size.

2011 – 2014 (SO GLAD I grew my hair out and got cuter glasses. Goodness, I really needed a stylist)

Running is almost completely mental training. The transformation your body goes through is just a positive a side effect.

I’m excited to start 2017 with such a lofty goal of running a marathon. But I know I can do it! Believing in yourself is half the battle. And as a fun bonus, Ashlyn and I will be running it together!

As you start your 2017, think about some lofty goals you might not think you can accomplish. Then, set some smaller ones until you work your way up to the big one! You got this!

On a related note, I’m starting a series on some running-related topics like my favorite running gear, race tips, etc. so stay tuned.

What are your lofty goals (fitness or otherwise)? Anyone else have a running story they want to share? Comment below.

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Just another 20-something trying to figure out this whole adulting thing.

3 thoughts on “Becoming a runner.

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