When I tell people I’m training for a half marathon, I feel like an imposter. I’m a little kid playing dress up, only instead of the doctor’s jacket or the fairy wings, I’m wearing running shoes. Remember that story about the girl that just couldn’t run across the field during soccer? The one that hated running? I usually still feel like that girl. I’m not a “runner.” I rarely have that moment of wanting to go for a run for “me time” or to clear my head, it’s not my “thing.”
“But, um, you know you’re training for a half marathon right?”
“And it’s not your first one?”
“I don’t get it.”
Me neither. Haha. Some more background…
When I was young, it turned out running wasn’t just hard because I didn’t run. It was actually hard. It could have been the exercise-induced asthma that my pediatrician diagnosed me with (personally I think that was a misdiagnosis after years of my inhaler providing little to no relief or assistance). It’s entirely possible that the fields of grass we played and ran on in PE were Kentucky bluegrass and I’ve just learned this year that I’m allergic. Most likely, it was the tachycardia that was disregarded by my doctors as “white coat syndrome” until after college.
I signed up for Team In Training not long after my tachycardia diagnosis. I had started taking medication to help my heart rate stay in the normal range and I was determined to train and finish. I had (have) years to make up for cardio-wise (still). But, I learned during TNT and that Olympic Distance Triathlon, that I actually COULD run. I could run and STILL breathe. It was the very first time in my life and it felt remarkable. It’s amazing how much more oxygen you can get in your system when your heart isn’t resting where most people are working. (Aside: Just recently, I was officially taken off medication. I can’t say why for sure, but I think a big part of it is hydration and the rest came from putting in the work when my heart had the help.)
“I might get it less now.”
So here’s the thing… Running is hard for me. Physically. Mentally. It can feel lonely and exhausting. I think back to all of those moments growing up where I just couldn’t do it.
But, I’ve never been one to shy away from a challenge. I am definitely stubborn and will push myself to finish whatever I start. If name meanings actually guide us, then that strength, that strong will and resolve, it has forged that drive to persist inside me. It’s because it’s hard for me that I run.
When I finished my first half marathon, with a time that would probably be considered mediocre at best by most runners, I didn’t care about the time. I was thrilled I finished. 13.1 miles! ME!! The girl that couldn’t run! When you spend your whole life believing that you’re not capable of doing something… with or without any official reason… it makes the “victory” that much sweeter.
And so, I continue to challenge myself to run. I pretty much have to be signed up for a race to motivate myself, but I still make that choice to sign up so that I will challenge myself to run. And now I’ll challenge myself to improve my time. I recently timed my one mile on the track for the first time since 2008 during TNT to see where I was and how to set my pace for training. It might not look like anything special, but this is probably the fastest mile I’ve ever ran. There’s a slim chance I ran one faster (by seconds only) in middle school, but I don’t think so.
And so now I have new goals for a training pace, new goals for my half in February, new goals and more goals for time going forward. I still feel like an imposter when I say I’m training for a half marathon. But truthfully…
Confession from this Non-Runner? I actually AM a runner.
I just have to believe it. For myself, but also for the kids at the hospitals I’m running FOR. If I’m running to support THEIR happily ever afters, whether they want to be runners or firefighters or ballerinas or dragon slayers, I better have the same conviction in my dream as they do in theirs.
Dream and believe in your own happily ever after… in the things you’re doing and can do. And then, will you join me in supporting the happily ever afters of the children in CMNH?