When I began running in 2013, I could barely run 30 seconds without getting winded, tired, and defeated. I was very hard on myself. I hated to sweat, and it killed me to see other people on treadmills beside me running faster and longer than me. I would beat myself up and compare myself to them often. Everything was uncomfortable, physically and mentally.
It only took a matter of a few months to catch the running bug. My husband and I ran our first race together in March 2013 when running was still hard but definitely tolerable and kind of fun. Running my first race sealed the deal for me with this whole running thing. It was a major Atlanta 5K, and I will never forget it. We have signed up and run that same race every year since then.
I finally overcame that initial very difficult phase in beginner training. Back then, 1 mile seemed like a long way. Then it was 3 miles, then it was 5, and so on. Looking back, running seemed almost impossible at times, and I was sure one more mile would kill me. It did get a little easier, but it will always be hard.
Those distances don’t seem as daunting anymore, and I have since moved on to the long distance (to me) races including the half marathon and marathon. Another runner gave me a piece of advice a long time ago that the key to staying a runner is to accept that pain and difficulty is relative to your situation and fitness level. Everything seems hard and impossible until you do it. Then you can look back and be able to say, I did it! Keeping this in mind helps me overcome the fear I sometimes feel leading up to a marathon. I just tell myself that I have done this before, and I can do it again, or I reassure myself that I have trained and prepared for this. If you can focus on what you are capable of right now and the goals you are working toward, everything will fall into place, and the training will pay off. You will discover at the right time and place just what your body and mind are capable of, and it will surprise you. This keeps me coming back to the sport of running every day. I hope there will never be a day in my life where I am not a runner.