Guest Post - Becoming a Runner

Being injured means that I haven't been doing much (any) running of late, and I don't think anyone would appreciate another post about my foot... Thankfully, the lovely Megan of Grad Student Needs a Hobby, has been kind enough to share her thoughts on becoming a runner! I love to hear the story behind why people became runners, and what drives them to keep going when things are less than easy, Megan's story is so real and honest about some of the psychological hurdles new runners have to get over.

Thank you Megan for sharing your story!

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The first time I remember actually wanting to run, I was in high school.  I knew at least half of the cross-country team.  Many of my friends got up early and hit the pavement.  I was tempted to join in, but my schedule was already packed with other activities, and I passed.  I was not a runner.

By the time I started grad school, I was not only not a runner, but I was no longer a dancer, singer, actor, or debater.  I had few commitments and fewer hobbies.  My new friends liked running, and they also got up early and hit the pavement.  They signed up for races, and they did it in groups.

I looked on with jealousy as they bonded over running.  I decided I wanted to join this time.  I started.  I quit.  I was getting into better shape, spinning happily at the gym, but I couldn't run for more than a couple minutes.  I felt like a failure.  I decided I wasn't meant to run.

Even if it meant giving up this view each morning.

But it still called to me.

After some long conversations with runner friends and some soul searching, I realized the problem.  I wanted to be a runner and to cross finish lines, but I wanted to be good at it naturally.  I wasn't.  And I was comparing my starting point to others who had been running for months or years.  As a result, I had called myself a failure before I had even really tried.

It's still difficult, and I still wish I could magically improve (don't we all?).  But as I get closer and closer to my first goal (running a mile without stopping), I'm finding that I actually love the process.

I love making playlists and connecting to my music.  I love when my mind quits and I push my body just a little bit further.  I love seeing the slightest increase in speed or distance.  I love being outdoors, noticing nature and how it changes.  I love feeling like I've accomplished something by getting out there when I don't want to.  I love starting out my day with something that's solely for me.  I love the community I've found in running; even though I don't go far and I go slowly, I've received endless encouragement to just keep going.  And so I do keep going, one day at a time.

Part of the arboretum near campus.  Why let the beautiful California scenery go to waste when I can be out in it?

I don't know when I'm going to feel like a runner.  It might be my first mile, or maybe my first 5k.  Maybe I'll always feel a little bit like an impostor.  I do know, however, that I'm excited to see how far I can go, now that I'm finally out of my own way.
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In other running news...have you signed up for Jantastic yet? It is fun, it is free and it is a great way to get motivated through the colder, darker months!
 
Also, I can run again!!
 
(I wish I could show you a clip of my happy dance, but it would be too much for anyone to handle!)