Along my path to becoming a runner, there were plenty of things that made me want to say, "Forget it, this is too hard." Like that terrible first 5K, or a torn ACL during a half marathon in 2012, or my depression flaring up again in 2015. But I kept on running because running became my me time. It gave me the chance to work through my anxiety, daydream for an hour, rock out to new music, or just explore a beautiful new route in quiet solitude. And when it got tough, I found that pushing through the sucky bits gave me a sense of accomplishment unlike anything else.
Once I finished a few successful 5K's, I tried distance running at my first half marathon in 2011. As luck would have it, the course ended up being closed at 9.5 miles due to flooding. Determined to earn that medal, I ran the 13.1 the following weekend around my town. Again, I pushed through the suck and made it happen, and holy crap did it feel good to call myself a half marathoner! Soon, though, half marathons weren't enough. So I set a goal of running the NYC Marathon.
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I won't sugar coat it: the process of training for a marathon was filled with moments where I could have tapped out and said, "I quit". It was a true test of physical and mental toughness. Training for and running those 26.2 miles through all five boroughs of NYC was hands down the most difficult, trying, painful experience of my life. But it's also the most incredibly awesome thing I've ever done—and I once met Adam Driver!
In all seriousness, I didn't start this journey to lose 100 pounds and run the NYC Marathon. I just knew that I needed to be move, literally, in a new direction, and fell in love with the process because I was doing things I enjoyed.
Looking back, I wish someone had told me earlier that being a runner simply meant that I had to run. So let me be the one to tell you: you can be a runner.Follow Jess on her blog Jess Runs Happy and on Instagram. Jess shared her story as part of our #MyACTIVE2018 21-Day Challenge. Follow along on our Facebook and Instagram pages for more motivation and tips.