The month of April marks my 3 year runversary. If you would have asked me back then, or even before then, if I thought I would ever become a runner…I would have looked at you as though you were insane and promptly laughed in your face.
Yet here I am.
And forgive me for sounding cliche…but I can say that running has honestly changed and help to save my life. I am a different person than I was 3 years ago. Running, specifically running alone, has made me a stronger person. I’ve learned to encourage, motivate, and tend to myself when I am out on the trail. You have to develop an attitude as a runner, especially as a plus sized runner, that is 1 part fearless and 2 parts determined. There is no quit. Can’t is a curse word. “Slow” (*rolls eyes*) is a state of mind. Winning is determined not by the time, distance, or finish….but rather on whether or not you’ve given your all. Every damn day when I hit the pavement it is a chance to prove to myself that I can go beyond what I think I can. Running taught me that the mind will block you from doing things that your body knows it can do. It’s taught me to trust and love the power within…and it has taught me to encourage others to do the same.
Some folks look at running as a hobby. Some a necessary evil. To me, running is a way of life. It is what I do…what I love to do. And for me it is just necessary. Period.
When I hear or see new runners step up to the challenge, I get excited for them. There is so much to learn and experience, and of course the natural desire is to go as fast and as far as you can. But to them I say…just take your time and everything else will follow. Run smarter to run healthier to be able to run long term. Speed will come as you get stronger. Cross training is a great thing. Yoga is a runner’s best friend. And no matter how ‘slow’ you might feel, you are doing a hell of a lot better of that joker who’s still sitting on the couch.
To my fellow plus sized runners, I say to you…find your inner strength (or as I call it, my inner beast). Lace up the sneakers and give your best. Yes, it will feel awkward at first. Of course you will be nervous, and trust me when I tell you I understand why. Don’t beat yourself up when you can’t go as fast as others. Trust me when I tell you…it gets better. I’m an example of that…I went from averaging an 18:30 min/mi on runs…to a plus size runner who hits an avg of anywhere from a 12:30 to 14 min/mi…and runs half marathons (3 last year and 2 so far this year). So when I tell you it gets better, when you hear me say you can do it, I know it…because I have lived it, I am living it, and I tell you if you have the heart for it, you can make anything happen. The most important thing you can do for yourself is to set an attainable goal, and work towards it. Every day will be progress, and it is meant to challenge you. Fear nothing, for you are more than capable.
Running has brought a lot of wonderful people into my life and has changed the way I look at myself and others. I never feel as powerful or more prepared to take the world on as I do when I put on my running gear. When I run, I am one badass curvy road running long-distance loving goddess.
So as I look back over the past couple of years and think about the journey I have had so far, I am humbled, uplifted, and excited. This is but the beginning of what I believe will be a lifetime of awesome. Every day I mature and grow as a runner. Every day I get stronger and am able to do more. And the icing on the cake is that I get to share that with all of you. 🙂