Where Is The Finish Line

When I went for my first run, I didn't think I was going to become a runner. I hated running, I was just desperate to escape the feeling like I was drowning in grief. Nothing was planned, I just took off, walked when I needed to walk (which was 90% of the time), and ran when I could run (the other 10%). I don't know why I decided to run again the following day, I just remember sitting around the Thanksgiving table the day of my first "run" and saying, "I think I'm going to run a half marathon." I doubt anyone believed me (I don't think I believed myself), but two months later, I ran a half marathon.

There is something about the combination of moving forward and being alone with your thoughts that helped me move forward with my life. I had been stuck in a self inflicted pause after graduating from college and running gave me a blueprint, a plan that I could feel proud of. It wasn't easy and it was anything but fun. I was doing 12-14 minute miles and I spent every single day of those first two months sore. But I did it. I crossed the finish line and learned something extremely important, that there was no finish line.

For the past three weeks, I have been running around my hometown so I could spend the holidays with my family and friends. I had been doing my daily runs at the beach because I was a little intimidated to run the routes I ran when I was first learning how to run. But on Friday, I felt like doing some hill repeats so I ran over to the hill that I used to avoid like the plague. During that first year, I tried to run up this hill twice and failed MISERABLY. It was impossible to run 2 minutes up that hill without feeling like I was going to die. Now, three years later and I'm doing hill repeats on it (and after 8 repeats I feel like dying. A big improvement!).

It's so hard when you're getting started to visualize the day when running won't feel utterly impossible and hopeless. That, I think, is my favorite part about running. There isn't actually a finish line. You will never be "done" with running. The second you hit a goal or do the thing you set out to do, it's changed because the reason why you run or what you're running towards (or from) is always evolving. Syd Field famously says, "The end of one thing is the beginning of something else" and I cannot think of a better way sum running up than with that quote. Whether you are becoming a runner, trying to get faster or run further, you're always going to be in the beginning stages of your next goal. 

Now don't get me wrong, the beginning is hard. It's really, really, really hard to take those first initial steps when they feel impossible and I realize that I just said that you're always going to be in the beginning stages. But one thing running requires is patience and persistence. Results don't happen overnight, you have to work for them because you get out of it what you put in. But the day you get to look back and realize that the impossible is now your normal will change your life. Running is never easy but it hurts in the best possible way.

I don't understand why people say "New Year New You". What's wrong with the old you? This year, my mantra is new year, stronger you. I spent way to many years of my life feeling ashamed of things that were out of my control. The things I felt self-conscious of or insecure about ended up being my strongest attributes. Strength and confidence come when you learn how to love your flaws and your imperfections because they aren't the things that need your attention. Trying to fix them won't make you happier or stronger, it'll just make you insecure and unhappy.

This year, make a list of 3 things that will make you stronger or happier. Don't even waste your time on making excuses. Anything worth doing is going to be difficult. This next year is going to fly by whether you want it to or not. Don't let the year pass you by. Get in the driver's seat. Every single day is another opportunity to be a tiny bit stronger than you were yesterday. You just have to take the first step. And then do it again.

So tell me, what are you going to do this year?

Until next time, #RunSelfieRepeat.