Six years ago, I couldn't run a mile. I struggled to breathe, to keep moving. I remember at one point trying to run for about a week, but then I gave up. I didn't try running again until 2011, when I was in the midst of the darkest time of my life. I had absolutely no confidence in myself. I decided that something had to change, so I gave myself a challenge: to run the 4.2-mile Pat's Run race that ends in Sun Devil Stadium in Tempe, Arizona. At the time, the thought of running that far when I couldn't manage a mile previously terrified me. I used a training program and treadmill to prepare myself for the race for weeks. On race day, I surprised myself by finishing the race in my goal time and without walking. The race gave me the confidence boost I needed, reminding me that I could change anything in my life that I wanted. Slowly I did transform my life, by untangling my ties with certain people and focusing on myself. That's how my love of running began. I would train race by race, taking breaks in between. I went from Pat's Run to 10Ks to half marathons to Ragnar Relays. This year I trained for more than 16 weeks for my first marathon. After the marathon, I wondered what would be the next milestone I would celebrate.
I now know what it is.
I hit the 500-mile running mark at the end of September. I didn't make a big deal about it. I didn't tweet it or tell anyone except Graham. But I'm realizing now that I should be proud. I've never consistently ran throughout the year until 2015. Sure, I showed more commitment some months than others; In January I ran almost 100 miles vs. the 14 I logged in May. (And October has been another slow month.) I have never entirely quit and that deserves to be celebrated. Many runners log 500-plus miles every year, but this is my first. Now I hope to surpass that by at least 100 miles.
I would have never guessed I'd become a runner, but I'm so grateful running has become a part of my life.
How has running or working out affected your life? Have you surprised yourself with what you have accomplished?
Marette Flora is an editor, writer, fitness fanatic and adoption mom living in Chicago. She has experience in newspaper and research editing as well as freelance writing. Subscribe to the Floradise newsletter for exclusive content and to catch up with her adventures.
I'm an editor, writer, runner, foodie and yogi living in Chicago who loves to write about fitness, food, mom life, favorite products and travel. You'll find me exploring new places and taking too many photographs with husband Graham, our daughter Victoria, and our dog, Capone. Follow along!
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