Monday, June 25, 2012

Head Full of Doubt & Road Full of Promises

I love the line in the Avett Brothers song "Head Full of Doubt/Road Full of Promises" that says "decide what to be and go be it" because that’s exactly how I became a runner.
A little over a year ago, I told my husband: "I'd like to start running." I have no idea where it came from. I never thought of myself as a runner. "But I'm not built like a runner" I told myself. “My body was not meant to wear those short shorts” and “my allergies and asthma will make me miserable” were among my long list of reasons for doubting my abilities. I've always enjoyed being active but years at the same gym doing the same activities was becoming cumbersome, annoying, and frankly, just boring.

Desperately seeking something else fun to do to keep me in shape, I signed up for my first 5k. I can't tell you my finishing time but I remember the feeling: "Wow-this is hard but this is SO cool!" People of all shapes and sizes running side by side, cheering for each other, most of us competing with our own goals (and not each other) to finish. Total strangers from the sidelines were cheering us on! Nearing the finish line, a woman who'd been running near me the whole course said: "Come on, let's finish this together!" We crossed the finish smiling ear to ear with such a sense of achievement, never to see each other again.

The satisfaction, the exhilaration, the camaraderie…I was hooked. Before I knew it, I'd signed up for another 5k, then a 10-K, then a trail run, and then a half marathon. Long gone were those doubts, I was constantly seeking the next big challenge and thrill. There were times during those 8 months from my first 5k to the time I completed my first half that I had serious doubts. Not "does my butt look ok in these shorts?" kind of doubts that I had in the beginning but "is my body going to physically let me keep doing this?" kind of doubts. To ease those doubts, I started reading Runner’s World and began educating myself on running. Most of it is just getting out there and doing it, but I also learned there was a finesse and  tricks of the trade that could make it better, easier, and more enjoyable. Along the way I’ve learned the importance of good shoes, the right clothes and found a new love for Bio-Freeze and BodyGlide.

Currently training for my second half marathon in the fall, I’ve come a long way in 13 months. Running is emotional, it’s empowering, and I love it because it unites people in a world where few things do.  I’ve found what works for me, I’ve hit my stride and now I run on a road full of promises with a head free of doubts.

Help me run to end pediatric cancer by supporting the Rally Foundation. I've paid for all my travel and expenses for the Disneyland half in September. Your donation goes straight to supporting the mission of the Rally Foundation.