Thoughts on Long Distance and Why

Sarah just posted something that got me thinking:

“So…can I ask you long distance runners a question? How did you decide that you wanted to run something like a marathon?”

When I first started running, I never thought I would get into longer races. I enjoyed running, but if we’re being completely honest I was mostly doing it because I wanted to lose weight. I’m pretty certain the words, “I will NEVER be crazy enough to run a marathon” came out of my mouth (with much disdain) on more than one occasion.

It was a slow and gradual fade. I finished my first 5k race, and by that time I had definitely realized that running could be about more than shedding pounds for me. But even then, I never thought I would be interested in or even remotely capable of running anything longer than 3 or 4 miles. Hesitantly, I signed up for a 10k training program. Thinking back on it now, I laugh at myself because I was SO TERRIFIED of that group. Running 6 miles seemed impossible, but eventually I finished the 10k program and, taking the next logical step, signed up for the half marathon program. The decision didn’t even require that much thought– I mean, I had done the 5k, 10k, half marathon was the next logical step, right?

Somewhere along the way I lost the mindset that my progress had limits– and THAT was the big realization for me. I can’t pinpoint a time when it happened, but eventually I stopped saying the words “I’ll never be able to run a _insert new race distance here_” because, why should I let a silly thing like fear hold me back? I was only saying that because I couldn’t fathom my body having the ability to accomplish such things. But now? Now I am so comfortable with being uncomfortable that I don’t hesitate to do crazy things like register for a marathon.

Roughly two years later, the very same girl who looked at long distance runners as certified CRAZY PEOPLE is about two months out from running her first marathon. And she has no plans to stop there. 🙂

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