My Running Story
I’ve accomplished many things during my running journey: I’ve completed six marathons, including qualifying for and running Boston Marathon; I’ve run two trail ultra marathon runs and several other trail races; I’ve taken my 5K time from a 32:00 to a PR of 21:49; I’ve run so many 1/2 marathons I lost count; and I became a RRCA running coach and Newton Natural Running Form coach. If it seems like I am boasting, I am not… because if it seems as if all of this came easy for me, it did not. I once believed I “just wasn’t a runner” or, “my body is made for sprinting, not distance.” (Any of these strike a chord with you?) Let me go back…
In high school I moved to Texas. I joined the Cross Country team to meet new friends and also because I always wanted to try distance running. I had done different sports growing up, never very competitively, but I thought Cross Country would be a great transition. The thing I LOVED about Cross Country: when I went out on the trail, behind the trees, no one could see me taking a walk break. The thing I hated about Cross Country: The coach considered a 1 mile lap around the school just the warm up. What?? Distance running was a hard transition and I never was able to get any better during that one season of Cross Country. So I told myself the excuse that I was just not meant for distance, my body did better at short sprints. End of story.
But it wasn’t the end of the story. In the back of my head, I always WANTED to run. I wanted to run those local 5K’s and enjoy it (or at least enjoy some of it). I wanted to be able to finish one without having to walk nearly all of it with a painful side stitch and a bright red out-of-breath face. So every now and then I would try and go out to run, yet fail everytime. So my same excuses would justify it for me. This pattern repeated itself for several years: I would want to succeed, want to run…I would try and fail, and justify my failure. (Again, does this sound familiar?) I stayed active in other ways (my body liked sprinting, remember?), and I became a regular in the weight room. I would sometimes run a little on the treadmill “for cardio”, but not very much. I started training for and competing in an Obstacle Course competition, so my fitness level grew, but the running was still mostly at a sprint level (the obstacle course took me about 1 minute to complete).
Then something changed that wouldn’t allow my excuses to hold anymore. My mom wanted to run a half marathon to celebrate her 65th birthday. She had never done one, it was a year away, and she wanted me and my three sisters to try it with her. I was ready to try something different from the obstacle course training, so I signed up with my mom and sisters. We had a whole year, right? Time to finally see if I could really be a runner. I went out for my first run to celebrate us signing up and… I came home crying and walking. I couldn’t even make it one mile without feeling horrible. How was I going to do 13 miles? The excuses could not justify quitting anymore, I wanted to do this for my mom. So I finally made a commitment and made a plan.
First, I made peace with myself. I was not going to feel defeated every time I had to take a walk break, or anytime my run “didn’t go well” (there were a lot of those). Second, I poured over training plans, running books, running magazines, etc. to learn how to plan and train. Lastly, I made small goals to achieve along the way. My first small goal was conquering the local 5K. After a few weeks of working patiently on my running, I entered a nearby 5K with a reasonable goal: run easy enough that you don’t take a walk break. For the first time, I finally completed a 5K feeling accomplished! The patient training was working. I continued following my plan, not listening to my excuses, and moving forward literally one foot after the other, mile after mile. It helped that my mom and sisters were also going through the same thing. By the time the year past, and I was lined up for the half marathon: I WAS A RUNNER. I was finally the distance runner that I had always wanted to be.
I’m sharing this because I am here to motivate and inspire you NOT to give up on your goals. They will not come easy. They may cause frustration, tears, excuses, and struggle. But through patience and persistence, you CAN achieve what you want. Tell me what your goals are. I am here to show you how they can be done! If you need help, contact me now and let me teach you how to achieve your fitness goals. Sign up for JennysFitness email updates here.