My first race was a 10K Turkey Trot in Bakersfield, Ca in November 2008.
My first Half Marathon was in October 2009 in Long Beach, Ca.
My first Marathon was in November 2009 in Fresno, Ca.
My first obstacle race was in April 2010 in Chino, Ca.
My first triathlon was in March 2013 in Arroyo Grande, Ca.
As you can see, I have had many “first” races in my nine year running career.
I have made many mistakes.
I have bonked in 3 half marathons (2 of them were in 2015).
I have thrown up in the middle of a long run.
I have been late to 2 races.
I have been injured 9 times.
My phone has died in the middle of a race.
I have fallen during a run once.
I could probably go on for at least another hour, but I won’t.
The fact is that running can hurt, it can suck, and it can be challenging…
If you let it.
On the other hand, running can be an amazingly enjoyable experience…
If you let it.
You are in control of your mental state and how you feel about running at any given moment.
Allow me to share with you a few of the lessons that running has taught me.
- You have to actually run to be good at it. Sorry friends, there is no BSing running. If you want to be a good runner, regardless of the distance… you have to put in the time and the effort. Don’t get me wrong, I acknowledge that being a “good” runner is totally subjective- one person’s good race is completely different from another. I am intentionally phrasing it this way because I believe that we ALL have the potential to be our own version of a “good” runner, but you have to put in the time to do it.
- Respect the distance. Distance running is not a joke. Don’t show up to a race unprepared! Always study the course map, have a game plan, and a hydration strategy. If you fail to plan, prepare to be dominated by the distance. I learned this valuable lesson after my third bonk in my 14th half marathon. Don’t ever think you are “too” good to bonk… Bonking happens to the best of us.
- Love the run. The “Fun” 15 mile long run that I rocked this past weekend is a perfect example of what I mean by “love the run”. I went into it telling myself that I was going to have a good time, and I did. If you go into any run, or race with a crappy attitude- it’s going to suck… hard.
- Remember that running is a gift! Any injured runner will tell you how important it is to appreciate running, because it can be taken away from you in a flash. Of the 9 injuries I have had, never once did I think to myself, “This is awesome, I am so glad I can’t run”. NO! I begged and pleaded with my injury… all I wanted to do was run, even if it was just a mile.
- You are stronger than you think. If this overweight thirty-something can run 17 half marathons and 2 full marathons, you definitely can. I don’t care how old you are, how athletic you are (or aren’t), or how much you weigh… if I can do it, you definitely can.
- Don’t give up. There have been SO MANY times where I have wanted to quit- so many times where I have wanted to throw in the towel, start walking home, or drop out of a race- but I didn’t. I pushed through and learned from those horrendous experiences and I am stronger today because of it. Always press on, always keep going, never give up.
What has running taught you?