January 3, 2013

2012-The Year I Became A Runner

Since it's the start of a new year, I'll be reflecting on the past year and looking forward to all that 2013 has in store in a couple of posts.  First I'll talk about my biggest fitness (and life for that matter) accomplishments of 2012! It's when I knew I was a runner, even though I'm still shy to call myself that!

My biggest fitness accomplishment of 2012 is when I ran my first half marathon this past September at the Philly Rock and Roll Half Marathon. It was my “aha” moment of running.  I have the common story of being an athlete in high school but then gained the freshman fifteen due to lack of exercise, poor food choices, and alcohol.  

Summer of 2011 I decided to get on a treadmill to get back in shape, but was stunned to find I could barely run a mile.  I signed up for a local 5K in October to keep myself motivated, and after that first race, I fell in love with running.  However even though I got involved with it as a hobby with my gear and running 4x a week, I never thought of myself as a runner because I thought I  wasn’t good enough or wasn't  winning races. 

For my first half marathon my only goal was to finish in under 2 hours. Even though I had run the cherry blossom 10 miler earlier that year faster than I thought I would, I still was scared about running the longest distance I had ever run. I had only trained up to 11.5 miles up to the point of race day.  I made a shirt that said “I’m the fast girl your mother warned you about” (my new unofficial slogan now) and was so excited when the weather was great. I was so nervous and around mile 8 my legs started to feel it but I pushed it out and felt on top of the world when I crossed the finish line in front of the Philadelphia Art Museum in 1:48:24


I was so elated afterwards and downed about 3 water bottles and some snacks when I finally met up with my boyfriend. He was so excited I met my sub-2 goal (not that he doubted me!). He was hugging me and telling me how proud he was of me when I started crying instantly.  This fit of sobbing just came on out of nowhere. I don’t know what triggered it but can assume it was an emotional release of happiness, stress, and pride.  

At this moment it hit me how important running was in my life, and that I was indeed, a runner.  I wasn't the fastest runner, but I was emotionally invested and dedicated. I enjoyed the struggles and the runner’s highs. What standards or qualifications had I been holding myself to that would deem me truly a runner? Game on, 2013. 

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