I’m writing today with the purpose of inspiring those of you who have considered running, but are in that place where you feel as if going from walking to running isn’t something you could possibly do. You may think it is too hard or that you aren’t strong enough. I’m here to tell you that you do have what it takes.
I was there once and not so long ago. In fact, there was a time in my life where I was so morbidly obese that I was unable to even walk to get the mail without difficulty. In late November 2011 I took up running. After a few months of running on a treadmill several times a week I was still barely able to run 3K and I had committed to running a 5K race. At first it did seem daunting but that was my mind playing games. I would cry because I felt like I was going to fail. I told myself that I had signed up for an event that I didn’t have the physical capacity to complete. I’m not generally negative and I am utterly stubborn… so I decided to quit listening to that voice in my head that kept screaming “can’t”. I put my running shoes on and went to work. A dear friend reminded me that we all have to start somewhere and that every runner has had their challenges. I listened.
I started to be more consistent with running. I wasn’t fast and I wasn’t particularly graceful. It would take me more than 30 minutes to run 3K, however, a few months before I could barely run a full minute without it being difficult. I used a free website to track my progress and I could see that I was getting better when I looked at my training summary. I was getting faster and running further even though at times it didn’t feel like it. I proceeded with the attitude that I could not fail. Even if I had to walk half the race, I would still finish. I was not going to quit!
March 2012 came and nearer the end of the month, I ran 5K for the first time after months of gently increasing my endurance. I did it! I really did it! I can’t express the sense of achievement that I felt that day on a local trail near the river. It was amazing. I ran the distance two more times before my first race and that gave me confidence. Sure, I was slow and I had to have walk breaks, but it didn’t matter. What mattered was that I knew I could cross that finish line and prove that I could do what at one time I thought would be impossible. That’s what counts and still does.
One night, when we got home from the indoor track at the Wayne Gretzky Sports Centre, my husband Bryan and I were chatting about my progress. It was about a year after I first started running and I was whining that the run wasn’t one of my better times for 5K. Then he said something that was amazing to me. “Laurie, do you realize that 5K is now your standard distance for fitness runs? You couldn’t do that a year ago.” He’s right. (He’s going to love that I said that publicly!) That distance, which seemed so horribly difficult to achieve, is one that I run several times a week. On Saturdays I often run more than 10K. Go figure! On May 4, 2013 I went on to finish my first half marathon (21.1K) and if everything works out I will go on to run my first full marathon in October of this year. I’m not speedy by any means, but I am determined to push my perceived limits.
I hope that you look at my progress and that it gives you the courage to quit thinking about it and give running your best shot (please be sure to check with your doctor first, buy appropriate footwear, and find a good training plan). You might even consider booking a race, allowing yourself ample time to train for it, of course. That will keep you motivated, especially if it is a charity run and you are collecting donations. Then you are giving yourself a great gift while doing something wonderful for someone else. Training can be tough at times, especially with the longer distances, but I promise you the rewards are worth it. You can do it… you just have to lace up your shoes and try.
Currently, I am one of the Digital Champions for Canada Running Series’ Toronto Yonge Street 10K where my role is to inspire others to run. If you need some inspiration or want to see where I am at in my training feel free to follow me on twitter @innerpossible or check out www.innerpossible.com.