Three Hundred and twenty four point nine.
That’s how many miles I ran in 2018.
Maybe that seems like a small number to some of you ultra running mega marathon super people, but if you had told me I would run that many miles five years ago I would have straight up laughed in your face. I wish I could say not being able to run to the end of the block was a exaggeration, but it’s not, it even be generous. Running across the yard would leave me winded and clutching a stitch at my side.
I was out for a “hike” with my husband one afternoon. I say “hike” because it was just a walk through the woods, barely even a hill to pose a threat. But I couldn’t do it. I think we had only been walking about 15 minutes and I had to sit down and rest, and I remember sitting there and thinking “is this what I want the rest of my life to be like?” sitting around, unable to keep up. Do I want to be on vacation in some amazing place and need to take constant breaks because simple walking is too much for me? I wasn’t overweight by any means, but I huffed and puffed like I was carrying an extra person with me wherever I went. But I decided that day I didn’t want to be that person anymore.
So I decided to run.
And I was horrible at it.
Not just like regular bad, but like truly and terrifically terrible at it. Forget running a mile, I couldn’t even make it a full block before I would have to slow down to a walk. But I stuck to it a few times a week. Running as much as I could, then slowing to a walk, then running again, then walking again. I just kept pushing myself as far as I could each time. I don’t remember exactly how long it took me - several months at least, but I remember the day I finally ran a half mile without stopping. I pretty much felt like a superhero. Albeit a superhero who could barely breathe, but hell, I did it.
Ever so slowly I got farther and farther, and finally found myself being able to run one, two, three miles at a time. I did my first 5k in a sleet storm and finished soaked from head to toe, but happy. I was a runner. Sure, I wasn’t running marathons (and actually don’t plan to, in case you’re wondering), but I was running. Something I really never thought I could do.
Running isn’t just putting one foot in front of the other to me, it’s a dare. Whenever my brain tries to tell me I can’t do something, the runner in me says “I bet you can”. It might be a long a painful journey, just like running has been, but I know know that I can get to the other side. I might be sweaty and gasping for breath, but I know now that I can.