Running and I have always had a complicated relationship. Growing up, I hated running with every fiber of my being. My favorite line to describe how I felt about running was "If you ever see me running you should join me because something is obviously chasing me." I played softball in high school, but that's a sport that requires short bursts of sprinting—definitely not long distance jogging. I absolutely, 100% never believed that I would ever become a runner or even that my opinion about running would change.
And then I went off to college and two and a half years later I wasn't a part of a sports team, wasn't exercising regularly, and was at a weight that I had never thought possible. I hated looking at myself in the mirror, shopping for new clothes, and the number I saw on the scale. So one day, I got completely fed up with my unhappy and sedentary life, and I went to a drastic measure in order to try and change things. I downloaded a running app—the Couch to 5K app to be specific. It was a slow process to be sure. I started out jogging one and a half minutes at a time and walking twice as long for a break. But I was determined that this time was going to be different. I needed it to be different. I was unhappy with my body, anxious about everything, and felt like a failure in several avenues in my life.
So I decided that I was going to be a runner no matter what it took for me to get there. I began following the training program in the app at the beginning of March and to everyone's surprise, I actually stuck to it. Now, I am able to run three miles at once. This is quite literally three times the distance that I could have run at my peak fitness in high school. I have lost inches and pounds and have clothes that fit better now than when I bought them months ago.
Besides the physical manifestations of my hard work, I have found a constructive way to work off my anxious energy, and I have found a thorough enjoyment of running. I love the heat, the sweat, and the exhaustion that my muscles feel when I have finally reached my destination. For the first time in years, I once again feel like I am pushing my body as far as it can go, making myself better every step of the way.
I am still on my weight loss journey, but I'm making strides in the right direction. I know that becoming healthy and getting the body that I want requires more than simply running, but it's an amazing first step for me. I have found a joy and determination at a time and in a way that I had never expected before. I fully believe now that I am a runner. I'm proud of it, and I don't ever want to go back to the life that I lived where I hated running.