I think I have read the statistic is something like 1% of the population finishes a marathon. Why is this amount so low? I think everyone has their reason for starting to run, but what are the reasons for not starting?
Every marathon I have ran I leave in awe. The people who participate in them are an amazing breed of people. The camaraderie that exists is like nothing else I have seen. The races always begin early in the morning and even if you line up not knowing a soul at that race, you will finish having talked to someone before, during or after and it's like you know them. People who suffer together have this sort of kinship, it's so awesome to be apart of. That's what I am trying to create here, a community of people who run. Doesn't matter the reason why you start. The idea is suffering with others is always better than suffering alone. Running with a bunch of people who are going through it with you helps make it possible. Every race start line is filled with this unbelievable energy. If you have never seen a marathon, it's something you should witness. To witness the perseverance of the human spirit is completely inspiring.
Start of the 2016 Columbus Marathon
When I signed up for my first 5k, I was a wreck. I woke up that morning not knowing what to expect or what I was getting myself into. I had went the 3.1 miles, but there was something different about running with other people. Going that distance with a group of people seemed so intimidating. I spent the time before the race looking around. I found it impossible not to compare myself to the other runners; body type, warm ups, and even the gear they had. I was so intimidated. I remember seeing this girl who looked like she had it all together, her little ear buds on, doing high knees and I thought... I look nothing like her. That doesn't matter. Those thoughts are still the same thoughts I have every race. I think its hard not to compare yourself to others. It's not necessarily a bad thing though, it pushes you. People need motivation and inspiration and maybe even a little bit of envy to push ourselves be our best.
That first race I think I finished in the 45ish range. I felt like a turtle. I hadn't really understood the concept of racing. I thought it was like grade-school, you go out and you try to beat every kid on the playground. Now I know, unless I am a normal non-Greek God adult, it doesn't work that way.
After that race, I realized everyone isn't out there to win. Each person is out there for their personal reasons. Every race, every run, every work out; I know I am out there for me. I am out there because a few years ago I was a big girl who got winded walking out the front door. I am out there because I have been in a relationship where I was told not to run. I am out there because I want my little boys to see what a strong mom they have and that if they set goals they can accomplish them. I am out there because I love the place my mind takes me when I hear feet hitting pavement. I am out there because I love myself and what running does for me. I am out there for so many reasons and as nervous as I get each and every race; I still line up at the starting line.
I know not everyone will run and love it, but what if you do? Let me be honest and say, it sucks in the beginning. Not in the, "oh haha that was terrible". NO. It sucks in the, "oh my god I want to die" kind of way. Don't quit. Keep going. You get better. Each run gets easier. Your body gets stronger. Your mind gets tougher. You won't believe it now, but if you keep going, eventually you will want to run. Don't laugh, I'm serious. You will crave the run. You will start planning when you can run. Days you don't run you will be sad and feel like you weigh 1,000 pounds, that's normal. When you can't run you will feel like you haven't earned your shower. Your mentality will shift. That shift is the fire in you that keeps you running. If you keep at it a habit will form, I promise.
The beginning of anything is scary. Running is no different. Don't be afraid. Your body is capable of amazing things, you just have to push yourself. Push yourself to start. Start by walking, each walk add in a little run for a couple minutes. The next run add more. It's going to hurt, that's OK. Pain is apart of life. When you finish your first race, you will feel like the biggest bad ass to have ever lived. I have never went out on a single run and came back home regretting that I went. So start. Make a plan. Go to the gym; run on the treadmill. Go outside; bundle up and see what you can do. Don't be too scared to try. You never know, you might like it.