I ran a mile for the first time in my life on Saturday, November 26, 2011–I did the “run the curves, walk the straights” trick for all of my physical fitness tests in school. I had just gotten home from a Thanksgiving feast at my aunt’s house and I was feeling pretty crappy. I was full. I had just worked a really long week and I spent that week eating pie. Every day. My friend Danielle and I had been running pretty consistently since September (a.k.a running the curves and walking the straights), but the idea of running one mile scared me. What if I fell? What if the kids playing soccer in the middle of the track made fun of me? What if I couldn’t do it?
Well, I did it. And I still felt crappy. I thought for sure I wouldn’t be able to run 4 miles in February, and that Danielle and I might need to hold off until the Spring to participate in a race. I spent a lot of time reading blog posts about how people hated running and then suddenly loved it, which gave me a glimmer of hope (see what I’m doing here?). So, I kept running. I ran two miles, then three, and then finally four. And it felt awesome.
Danielle and I signed up for the Snowflake 4 Mile Race about a month ago and since then I’ve ran 3x per week. I’m no expert in race planning (seriously, we just did this because it worked for us schedule-wise), but we dedicated Fridays to long runs, Sundays to short, 2-mile interval runs, and I ran 3 miles on Wednesdays. I didn’t time myself; all I knew was that it took me Beyoncé’s album “4” to run 4 miles. Coincidence? I think not.
Today was the race and I was so nervous I could barely sleep last night. I looked out my window when I woke up this morning and saw that it was snowing. I took it as a good sign; Danielle and I joked over drinks in August that it would be crazy to run in the snow if we ended up doing the race. We didn’t get to run the boardwalk as planned due to slippery conditions, but it didn’t matter. Running in the snow was pretty fantastic.
We started out slowly–probably about a 12/13 minute mile–and were cheered on by police officers, family members, and people out for their morning coffee run. Based on my Beyoncé calculations I knew that once “Countdown” came on my iPod, we’d be near the finish line. I turned to Danielle and said, “Let’s finish this shit!!” (because I’m so eloquent), and we sprinted to the end. My goal was to finish by the end of “4” and we did so a song early. Where those extra 3 minutes came from I’m not sure, but we could have finished in last place and walked away ecstatic.
My dad took us out for pancakes after the race and I literally couldn’t stop smiling as I stuffed my face with a strawberry-banana short stack. It might seem silly considering it was just a run, but I’ve never been more proud of myself in my life. Tonight Danielle and I are going out for drinks at the restaurant where this all started to map out our next adventure; a trip to Austin, Texas in April! We’ll be running through Austin in cowboy boots. Yee-haw!
Since that Saturday in November I’ve found a love for running. I’ve lost 15 pounds (more on that in another post), swapped watching TV for reading books and blogs (well, I still watch “Jersey Shore.” I mean…), and have noticed that I’m just more focused and goal-oriented in my day-to-day life.
Here’s what running has taught me so far: You are better than you think. You are stronger than you think. You are more powerful than you can even imagine. Don’t waste another second of your life in self-doubt; that stuff’s just all in your head anyway. Remember those soccer kids on the track who I was afriad might make fun of me? That was only because that’s how I percieved it. Choose to percieve things differently (“It’s only 4 miles” instead of “How can I run 4 miles when I can barely finish one?”) and see how far you go.
So where do I go from here? I’m running a 10K in May and am competing in the Maine Cancer Foundation’s Tri for a Cure in July. I have a lot of work ahead of me for that triathlon but I’m so excited to see what else I’m capable of. If the girl who would rather eat pie than run can do it, you can do it.
I still eat pie, by the way. Now I just do both.