When I began running as a hobby in 2013, it was for no reason other than start participating in runDisney races and earn some really amazing medals. It wasn't for any awesome reason like weight loss, self-improvement, or specific time goals in mind. I was also always the kid in gym class who hated running the mile, so I figured any effort on my part to become a runner would be impressive. I'm not sure how people wake up one day and decide to become a runner. It's not a fun hobby (at least during), but post-run endorphins are definitely real. Regardless, I've somehow been running off and on for 6 years now.
Despite my calling it out as not a fun hobby, it's extremely rewarding and never takes more than it gives. Running has given me so much and I'd recommend it as a hobby for anyone. We all start from somewhere, but it's also important to know that you shouldn't begin thinking that you're going to improve if you do it often. That's how most things work. We've all heard practice makes perfect, but so many things can happen on your running journey. Runners can get faster or run longer distances with consistent training, but it's never a guarantee.
In my personal experience, I was significantly faster when I first became a runner. I was a newbie, but I was using the Couch25K program, which is for beginners. It is meant to guide you to run a 5k without any walk breaks. All of my personal bests occurred within my first year or two of running. I could easily get discouraged about this and give up the hobby altogether, but I'm still happy. I acknowledge that my weight is now more than it was back in the day, that I've been through injuries, and that I prefer to run with run/walk intervals. All of these things may make me slower, but not any less determined or appreciative that my body can still cover the distance.
I've had my ups and downs, just like many runners. I've had countless friends who had to start from ground zero after time off for surgeries or injury. I think the most important thing for all of us to remember is that we're only racing ourselves and we're winning against our former self as long as we get off the couch. I know how important it is for some runners to focus on a time or pace goal and continually be building on that. My favorite part of running is how subjective success is. Someone's worst finish time in a race ever may be someone else's biggest goal. Someone may think a 10K is the shortest distance while someone else dreams of completing 6 miles. Some of us are crazy and want to do a half marathon in each state. Me. That's my type of crazy I'm talking about.
I continue running despite not having the guarantee of improving on my average mile pace. Nothing is unattainable, so there's no guarantee that my best days can't be surpassed in the future. Some days it feels like my running progress has gone completely backward, but then I remember everything I've gained in 6 years. I've gained more running friends than I can count. I've collected race memories in various states. I've proven to myself time and again how strong I am, even if I think I'm not. I have significantly more race medals than I'm currently able to display in my home. Most importantly, I've gained a level of self-esteem and good health that I couldn't have otherwise. Go for a run. Then go again.