This morning as I was slowly waking up and motivating myself to roll out of bed, I scrolled through my Timehop app and learned that 5 years ago today I ran my first ever race.
My first race was the Lansing Half Marathon, which I decided to run on a whim, never having run a 5k or 10k. I didn’t really get into running until about 6 years ago, when I was getting ready to leave for college and decided that I wanted to be in better shape. I started out running the same loop over and over, always running either 5 or 7 miles – never more and never less. This was back when I didn’t have any sort of GPS watch or timer, other than checking the kitchen clock when I left and came back to find out how long the run took. A few months into my monotonous start to running, my aunt and uncle began a weight loss journey. They had set a goal to lose weight and live a healthier lifestyle, and with that they decided to sign up for a half marathon.
My mom, who has been running her entire adult life, decided to run with them in an attempt to reach a distance goal herself. For as long as I can remember, she would head out the door every other day to run 3-5 miles. A half marathon for her was a distance she had never thought she could run. For fear of being left out, I decided to join them without hesitation. My mom and I found a training plan online and stuck to the long run mileage like it was our bible.
We ran the Lansing Half Marathon in 2012, and since then have never looked back. There have been injuries, doubts, trials and errors along the way, but running always won in the end. This past weekend I completed my 15th half marathon since that day.
I am definitely a solo runner – I love the alone time that comes with running. Frequently I will run with my mom or another running partner, which I always enjoy, but most often I run solo. Being a solo runner, I never thought that I needed the company of others to keep me motivated. Everything changed when I ran that first race.
I will never forget the feeling of starting that half marathon – standing in a crowd of 1,000 people, all running over a bridge together with the same end goal in mind. My iPhone played some intense drum music, and I experience a high I had never felt before.
There is something so special about the running community that I can’t even put into words. Running races, no matter how big or small, still give me that same warm and fuzzy feeling. Every time I run a race, my spirit is uplifted and my faith in humanity is restored. It is a strangely intimate feeling to be standing with thousands of strangers, knowing that every single one of them is there to support you in your journey and only wishing the best for you.
If you’ve never run a road race, I highly recommend it. Whether or not you think you need it, the community you find at the start and along the way will change your outlook on life. I can honestly say that the quality of my life has increased since I discovered the joy that comes with road races.
Try one out, I guarantee you won’t regret it. 🙂
Lansing Half Marathon, 2012
Mount Pleasant Half Marathon
Air Force Marathon
Dawn of the Dunes Half Marathon
Winter Blast Half Marathon
Kalamazoo Half Marathon
Santa Hustle Half Marathon
Gazelle Girl Half Marathon 2014
Gazelle Girl Half Marathon 2017
Runner’s World Half Marathon
Stony Creek Half Marathon
Get Luck Half Marathon