What Running Taught Me

April 30, 2017

What Running Taught Me

Submitted by guest writer Alana Sharp. You can find her at @AlannaWritesATX

I must admit, I’ve never been the most physically fit person. I grew up in an area where P.E. was sad, at best.

When I reached my mid-twenties, and moved into one of the nation’s most health-conscious cities, and found myself surrounded by runners.

I’d watch them fly past me as I walked my dog and often thought I could never do what they do. Their endurance, spirit, and physical ability dwarfed my own. The distance between us couldn’t have been farther apart.

That was until one day I decided to lace up my tennis shoes and go for a jog on my apartment’s treadmill.

It. Was. Awful.

I sweated what literally felt like every ounce of water out of my body and turned bright red, wanting to pass out over the side of the arm rails.

But I did it. A whole mile and a half.

Of course, about 1.25 miles of that was spent walking.

I had a long way to go. I didn’t give up though. Something within me stirred after that first workout. I felt this insatiable urge to meet a goal I had always had tucked down deep: I wanted to run in a race.

I kept with it. I joined local Facebook groups where fellow runners would offer suggestions about the right type of shoes to wear, how often to workout, how long I should run and even how I should lace my shoes.

I was mentally preparing for one of the most difficult things I would ever do. I signed up for a 5K.

Sure, those of you who are marathon runners might scoff at this distance. But to me it might as well have been Mount Everest.

I was two months out when I started to doubt myself. We all know the voice, the nagging, devilish, nasty little demon voice that makes you want to curl up in a ball and give up. I thought, who am I to run in a race with pros who’ve been doing it for years? I won’t finish, I know I won’t. It’s going to be too hot, I could get sick!

But while those voices were swirling around my head, another one emerged. One that told me I could be anyone I wanted to be and do anything I dreamed of. One that said, “keep going.” I listened to that voice.

Two months later I found myself at the starting line of my first ever 5K with sweat dripping down my forehead, partly caused from the 100+degree weather and partly because of my nerves.

The bell went off and I started moving my feet. Two hours later I made it to the finish line. I was exhausted, dehydrated and feeling like giving up. I didn’t. I put one foot in front of the other and that familiar voice came back again, “keep going” it said. I listened.

Those three months preparing for and racing in my first 5K were brutal at times, but what I learned was invaluable. I discovered my own strength and learned that if I believe in who I am I can do whatever I can imagine.

I believe that strength and power exists within each one of us, it just sometimes takes a bit of a push to find it.

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