How running has made me a better person
There are times in my life when I have the opportunity to just spend a few minutes thinking and soul searching. I think it’s healthy to do that once in a while, and gain a fresh perspective on life. Going over things in your mind isnt a bad thing, unless of course, it’s while you are trying to go to sleep.
This week we have had the National Canoe Regatta in our backyard on the Penobscot River. I took a chair down to the rivers edge and waited for one of the adult races to come by. No one else was around, and I had at least half an hour to wait, so I sat there, staring at the beautiful sight in front of me, and contemplating…..
I thought about how far I have come since I started running again in 2011. I went from not being able to run a tenth of a mile, to doing my first marathon in October 2014. I have learned that some key points of run training, trickle down into life. Passion, determination, perseverance, all of these words stand out to me. I had to dig deep inside myself and fight a lot of demons when I first started. Being overweight, I was very self-conscious of my body. Putting on running shorts or capris/tights was something that took a lot for me to do. I remember buying my first pair of capris. I was in Walmart with my elderly father, getting his groceries. He saw me looking at them, and I guess I must have had a strange look on my face. He took them out of my hand, and put the capris in our shopping cart and said, “I will get those for you, you’ve earned them”. At that point, I realized that I had, and that it was time to take that step out of my comfort zone. I had the passion for the sport. I needed to throw away all self doubts and apply myself whole heartedly.
I was determined to start running races. In the beginning, it was really scary for me. I knew that there was a good chance that I would be the last one to finish at every race I did. It took a whole lot of courage for me to stand at that start line, but I did it. I found that it was fun, and that I wouldnt always be the last one. A couple of times, yes I was, but it wasnt that bad. I learned that I now had enough self confidence to know that I was capable of pushing myself to my limits.
I was still ahead of those who were home on the couch for whatever reason. That determination soon became a thirst for more… I had a half marathon in mind. I did some 5K’s, 10K’s and 15K’s first… then I knew it was time. I started working with my Coach Caleb Masland and all along the way he taught me to look inside myself and focus on what I could do, and to improve it. Not to worry about what was beyond my reach. I was determined to make him proud, along with my family. I pushed hard, and found some inner strength I didnt know I had. I ran my first half marathon in October 2013 and I was hooked.
Perseverance. When I start thinking about the events that led up to my first Marathon last October, that’s the word that comes to mind. Like many others before me, I found that marathon training is as emotionally taxing as physically. Many, many times I would lay in bed on the weekends, and dream of sleeping in, but I needed to get up to go do a long run.. (usually 12 miles or more). I could find every reason in the book not to get up. All the excuses came to mind. However, I knew in my heart that I had a goal set before me. I could see that medal in my mind.. and I wanted it around my neck at the finish line. I was fortunate enough to have a friend (Isaac Marnik) who went through those long runs with me to help me keep focused. I developed an injury a couple months before the race, and many times I just wanted to give up and say the hell with it all. But.. I knew that if I did that, come October I would not be fit to live with. My coach was great at changing around my weekly workout schedules, and my doctor was very supportive and put up with all my non-stop questions and mood swings! Some mornings I could barely walk but I knew that there was a prize at the end of the tunnel and I had to persevere to grab that medal. On October 5, 2014, I reached my goal.
I learned that I am a much stronger person inside, than I ever thought I could be. My running had gotten me through some very stressful times in my life and has become my time of comfort. Time to be alone with my thoughts, or to just clear my head and hit the road, not focusing on anything. I sometimes listen to my footsteps and think how many people before me have run races and succeeded in fulfilling their goals in life. I have been very fortunate to be one of those who did get the prize at the end.
To any of you out there who would love to run, but physically don’t feel able.. there are ways to get around that. There is all kind of training available to you… and it need not be something you have to pay for. I feel that anyone who wants to run should be able to at least try. I will always look back at my journey from obesity to where I am now, and smile, for it has made me a brighter, stronger person, inside and out.
Love to you all…