Today is the perfect day to talk about one thing I am thankful for. Lately I’ve felt like I’ve done a lot of complaining and have been super stressed and I want to reflect on how thankful I really am.
I am thankful for running.
You see, back in the day I was a confident girl. I was happy with me and if you didn’t like me, there was something wrong with you. Over time my confidence broke down. People said hurtful things and although I know that is their opinion, I can’t help but let it get to me. I also got lazy and because of that gained weight, which made me even less confident.
I had dabbled in running in high school once in a blue moon and a little more frequently in college, but never really took it seriously. One day last year around May/June I ran out of excuses and just ran. It was hard. I say I ran but I would run, die and walk, run, die and walk until I completed the 3 mile loop. My trusty running buddy, my dog Kai, wanted to go fast. She kept looking back and asking what the hold up was. It took me more than a month before I could slowly run the whole loop. And you know what? It felt freaking fantastic. For the first time in a while, I felt like I had personally accomplished something.
I had found something that make me feel proud of myself again. So I kept running and I signed up for a 5k. I was working really hard to try and get faster and lose some weight. I bought a Garmin watch, invested in some real running clothes and just kept plugging away on the miles. I’ll never forget what it was like to run my first 5k. It was the Addison Oktoberfest and it was hard and exciting all at once. I also learned there to appreciate a good beer after a run. I was fully hooked – line and sinker.
For the most part we took winter off – except for participating in a marathon relay team. A coworker at the end of December asked me to sign up for a half marathon with her. I was scared to death – up to that point I had only run maybe 5-6 miles. I did it because it scared me. I jimmy rigged my own training plan. A little over a month before the scheduled half, a coworker talked me into running the Cowtown half. Let’s just say it was a little less of talking me into it and a little more of challenging me to do it (just challenge me and it’s on like donkey kong). It was awesome and really really hard. Crossing that finish line I was almost in tears. I can’t believe what I had accomplished and I was so proud of myself.
Since then I’ve run 5 half marathons this year and have a few more planned plus my full in December. I’m also training for my first marathon with Luke’s. With Luke’s I’ve really come full circle. Check out some awesome girls from my group!
I’m thankful for running because it also introduced me to other runners. Runners are amazing people. They don’t care what your day job is or how big your house is, if they are really awesome people they don’t even care about your pace. They just want to support you and help you reach whatever your goal is. They may want to talk about how awesome your shoes and/or sweet new running gear. And you know what? That’s pretty sweet. It’s a special community.
I also can’t help but feel super confident for what running has done to my body. I still feel like I’ve got a ways to go, but I love the way my legs look and the overall fitness it’s bringing. I’ve learned to appreciate my body for being able to run long distances. I no longer look at my thighs and think of how much I wish they were smaller – I appreciate my muscles for being strong.
I am thankful for running because it helped me to get my confidence back and to help find myself again. I feel good about myself both outside and inside. I’m working hard to accomplish goals that are not easy, but the supportive community I’ve found has done more for me than I can ever give back. I can’t wait to help pay it forward.