Life Lessons Learned from Running

two man running on road
Photo by RUN 4 FFWPU on Pexels.com

In a previous blog post, I wrote about my identity and how I didn’t see myself as much of a runner anymore.  Over the past few months, I have rekindled my love of running.  In February I knew that it was likely that I would be leaving New England this summer, so I was motivated to begin training for a half marathon in a beautiful shoreline town that I adore.

The first few weeks of training were not easy; however, I stuck to my training plan and running became easier.  As the weather started getting warmer, I planned to do my long runs at a boardwalk on my way home from work.  I really enjoy running at this boardwalk, because there are always people walking, it’s mostly flat, and I don’t have to worry about cars.  During my long runs, I found that my thoughts became my focus and my legs simply moved along.  I have had so much on my mind in the past few months as I have been preparing for some major life changes (more on this in next week’s post).  Running helped me manage my anxiety.  My training was going smoothly, and I was feeling good about running again.

After training for weeks, I decided to sign up for a 10K two weeks before the half marathon as a preparation race.  When my husband and I first arrived at the race location, I immediately starting doubting myself and thinking that I was not ready.  I said I didn’t want to run the race anymore, because I was scared.  What the heck was I scared of?!  I had run 9 miles earlier that week, so of course, I could run 6.2!  I was scared of being disappointed in myself, but I could not let my fears stop me.  Before I knew it, the race had begun, and I was feeling great.  With each mile, my confidence grew, and I finished the race in 59:51!  I was so happy crossing the finish line.  The 10K was awesome!

Leading up to the half marathon, I was nervous that I wasn’t prepared enough and that some injures I had might flare-up during the race.  Although the race began comfortably, I began to feel a slight pain in my hip as I approached mile 5.  Unfortunately from there, as the course increasingly went up and down hill literally, the race went downhill for me figuratively; my hip became sore to the point that I had to take walking breaks throughout the rest of the race.  I was in pain and not enjoying the race, but I was determined to finish.  I finished the race in 2:29:20, which is much slower than I’m capable of, and I was miserable.  I didn’t feel proud crossing the finish line, and I didn’t want to hear the congratulations from my husband and sister.  I was irritated about how the race went.

It has been two days since the half marathon and looking back, it’s sad that I didn’t take more time to enjoy this race.  After all, I had signed up for it because of the location.  I wish my thoughts during the race were more focused on the atmosphere and scenic views throughout the course rather than my pain.  I wish I had shifted my mindset to be more positive.  As I reflect on the race and the training that led up to it, I know that running is something that has made me a better me.  Running is challenging; therefore, it is rewarding.  Running is a test of mental strength, and that is the best part of running.  Running reminds you that you can do what you think you are not capable of.

“If it doesn’t challenge you, it won’t change you.” – Fred DeVito

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