I’m really tired of telling people I’m not a runner. There, I said it.
If you know me personally and have talked to me about my love for boutique fitness, you’ve likely heard me say one of the following: I grew up dancing, so running isn’t natural for me. I don’t run very often. I don’t enjoy running. I’m not a runner. I’m tired of telling people these things because I’m tired of allowing myself to ignore my potential. By saying that I’m not a runner, I’m saying that I can’t run. That’s absolutely not the case. The reality is that I’ve never pushed myself to run more than five miles.
Over the last few years, training for and running organized races (5K, 10K, half, and full marathons) has become more popular. Or maybe it seems that way because social media has made it possible for runners to broadcast their successes. I’ve read countless tweets about completed training runs and admired photos of smiling, sweaty friends with medals around their necks. A small part of me wanted to run a half marathon and knew that I was capable of training for one. In fact, I had admitted that to a few of my friends, who quickly agreed that I could do it. So, why didn’t I just register?
It’s not the physical challenge that held me back. I know it’ll be tough but that my body can handle it. I’m more afraid of the mental challenge. I’ve become accustomed to training in high intensity intervals. I’m used to convincing myself that I can do anything at 110% for a few minutes. While you can run in intervals, a half marathon is not a sprint. It’s not over in a few minutes. It’s about training your mind to believe that you can keep running when your body wants to stop. For somewhere around two hours. I’m afraid of the process of convincing my mind that I can run for that long.
I’m really tired of being afraid of mental barriers. So, I registered for a half marathon.
Image via Nike Women’s Half Marathon
On April 27, 2014, I’m traveling back to DC to run 13.1 miles at the Nike Women’s Half Marathon as part of the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society’s Team in Training. After watching the ING New York City Marathon on Sunday, I knew I was ready to train. I watched men and women of diverse backgrounds and fitness levels run 26.2 miles. People who were so drastically different but could share a great physical accomplishment. While I’m not ready to commit to 26.2, I want to know what it feels like to run for 13.1 miles through a crowd of people to support a cause larger than myself. I’ve secretly wanted to run the Nike Women’s Half in DC since it debuted last year, but registration is a lottery system with no guaranteed entry. If I was going to commit, I wasn’t going to leave my chances up to a lottery.
On Monday, Kayla tweeted at me to tell me she had guaranteed entry as part of Team in Training. That’s when it all fell into place. Both my dad and brother are cancer survivors. My dad was treated for Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma while I was in high school, so I have a personal connection to the cause. I’ll be raising money to support Team in Training (likely starting next month), but I’m already eager for the amazing opportunities I’ll be given in return. Starting in a few weeks, I’ll be training with a coach and attending workshops on nutrition. I’m used to working out with a fitness instructor, so I think having a coach will be perfect for me. There are many other great perks about being part of Team in Training. Read more here.
Image via Nike Women’s Half Marathon
I plan to share my struggles and victories throughout the training process on my blog. Thank you in advance for the support in checking this big goal off my list.
I accept the challenges that come with a commitment to train for a half marathon. I still might not feel like a runner, but I’m about to become one. I’m going to learn to love running.