I discovered running about four years ago. Running is something that was this magical thing that only really fit people could do. Well at least in my little baby bunny mind. I had tried running in the past, but never stuck with it. Who knew that people didn't just go run?! That's what I had always thought you did.
When leaving Lifetime Fitness after a group class, I saw a sign to sign up to train for a 5k. It took me a few days to mention anything to my husband at the time that I wanted to do it. Who am I to think that I can actually train for a 5k? It will take time away from the kids and him. I've been a full time working mom for years. How would this fit into an already busy schedule? Once I got up the nerve to mention something about it, his response was what are you waiting for? Go sign up. I did the next day. I paid my fee to join the run training group. I showed up at the scheduled time. It was one of the most nerve racking moments. Am I going to fit in? Am I too heavy to run? At the time, I was 30-35 pounds heavier than I am now. Am I going to be judged? Are people even going to like me? Then I met Stefanie, my new run coach. She was so full of energy and so happy everyone showed up. Instantly, I was put at ease. Zero judgement from her. I also met Tammie that first day. She became my first running buddy. Tammie and I were in the same boat. We both wanted to learn to run. We started out very easy with interval running. Over the next several weeks, she built us up from intervals to running the entire time. Then it was time to put the training to the test. I showed up for the Disco 5k on a chilly morning. I was completely nervous and anxious the entire time waiting for the race to start. Then it was time. My wave started and I was off! Just over 37 minutes later, I had run my first 5k. Tammie accomplished her goal that day as well. That was the start of my love of running. The feeling of accomplishment was huge. I actually did it! I finished and ran the entire 3.1 miles.
Since that first race, I have completed several more races distances: 5k, 15k, half marathons and 2 full marathons. My favorite race so far is the NYC marathon. The entire race with the exception of a few bridges was electric. The crowds truly make you feel like they are there for you. Yelling your name to push harder or 'you can do it'. One of my favorite spectators gave me a hug and yelled, 'Robyn you've got this shit!' The entire race was magical. It is an experience that I hope to never forget and get to do again.
There is just something about running that is almost soul cleansing for me. Getting up early on a Saturday morning for my long run when the house is still quiet is something I look forward to when I am training for a race. The prep work starts on Friday night making sure I have my clothes, water bottle, headphones and fuel ready for the next morning. The alarm goes off and I'm ready to get up. I quietly get ready and head out usually in the dark. In Texas, you have to run very early mornings during the summer. The heat and humidity will completely drain you by 9 am. I have had the pleasure of watching the sun come up over the trees many times. The feeling you get from being outside and watching the beautiful colors streak across the sky is mesmerizing and peaceful. It's almost like you are the only person in the world.
I prefer to run alone. It's not that I do not like running with others. I just need that time to be quiet. Nearly every run I have headphones in, but my thoughts tend to take over from the music or podcast that may be playing. Running becomes meditative to an extent. So many times, I've gone out for a run and come back with a much improved attitude. It has helped me in so many ways move through my separation and ultimately my divorce. Running has always been there for me. I have met some of the most wonderful people through running. Tammie and I do not run together any more. We are still good friends and catch up every chance we get. Each time I get to lace up and go out, I learn something new about myself. Maybe that's why I've stuck with it.
Beginning to run was the start of changing how I looked at myself. I realized that I actually could do something that I never thought was possible. The only person holding me back was me. I look back at how I had limited myself so much. I am so grateful that I found the courage to sign up for that first 5k.