It’s not what happens to you, but how you react to it that matters.~Epictetus
A year ago today I ran my first half marathon and LOVED it. In eighth grade I got a B in gym because I refused to run the mile for the Presidential Fitness test (I walked it happily), because I HATED running. How did I go from someone who absolutely hated pounding the pavement to someone who can’t get through the week without a good run?
I was very athletic growing up, I was on the swim team, rode horses (English-style, jumpers), did gymnastics, danced, and cheered. In college I was committed to staying fit, and was a total gym rat. However, this funny thing happened when I graduated college and moved to New York without a job…I was broke. Like realllllly broke. I paid my first months rent, convinced my parents to stock my fridge with Costco goods and was left with $90 and stolen internet to find a job (which I did). With no free campus gym membership in sight I started running up to Prospect Park, doing a few crunches and pushups and running home. It started as two one mile legs, and eventually became a continuous three miles. I started working at a local restaurant to supplement my paltry actor’s income and the chef was a runner runner (He’s like insanely fast). The idea of distance running sparked my interest and I worked towards building my endurance. After a year of living in New York I was running about 15 miles a week and actually enjoying it.
For my 2010 resolution I decided I wanted to run a race…a long one. The longest distance I could fathom running was a half-marathon, so I signed up for the Rock N Roll Philly Half Marathon in September and started building my mileage. I started running 20-25 miles a week and have pretty much consistently maintained that ever since. I completed my first race in 2h10m02s and I was hooked. Honestly, if you want to get into running, but don’t like it, sign up for a race. You will never go back.
|(I totally talked my parents into it.)|
Ever the casual goal -setter I decided I wanted to try a marathon….eventually. I decided that 2012 was the year. I would run 26.2 miles the year I turned 26. I’d be done with grad school, have the mental, physical and emotional capacity to handle it, and have plenty of time to prepare. For 2011, I joined NYRR and decided to run the 9 +1(volunteer) races I’d need for automatic entry into the 2012 NYC Marathon (side note: I live a block away from the NYC marathon course and I LOVE going down to watch it every year). I was ready. The plan was set, my life was swimming along brilliantly and I had the mother of all marathons to look forward to when grad school was done.
Then I got dumped…by my boyfriend of three years…who I was pretty sure I was going to spend the rest of my life with. That SUCKED. I was pretty devastated (note the sappy and philosophical posts that dominated the middle of the summer). I needed something to throw myself into, and fast. When an invitation to run the Inaugural Bucks County Marathon popped into my inbox, I clicked through instinctively. It was the first ever marathon in my home town. It was four months away. Before I could question what I was doing, my credit card was out and I had a receipt from active.com. I was running a marathon.
Wooops. Impulsive much?
Honestly, I’ve had my doubts about this decision, but it’s brought a lot of positivity into my life over the past few months that I desperately needed. Marathon training forces to me fuel properly, not get rip roaring drunk, go to bed at a reasonable hour, gives me energy throughout the day, but leaves me exhausted at night so that I sleep like a baby. On some level, I’m grateful for the heartbreak because it’s given me the opportunity to run this race and focus on myself right now. I’m working on becoming a better person all around and it’s something I can be proud of. It’s not the path I would have chosen for myself, but its a path that presented itself, and I’m happy to say I’m enjoying the journey.
Did a less than favorable situation ever drive you to something good?