Couch to half marathon in five months
Good Content from: Grace Smith, Brand Marketing
I’m not a runner.
That is what I used to always say. Growing up, I gravitated toward non-running focused sports. In fact, my most dreaded day every year was the mile run test in PE class. I remember having knots in my stomach all day leading up to it as I was always one of the last people to finish.
Once I started working at a desk 40+ hours a week, I, like many others, got into a routine of sometimes making it to the gym when my schedule allowed. “When my schedule allowed” meant I would make excuses not to go, mostly because I didn’t really enjoy it. Exercise meant more time inside staring at a screen on a treadmill or taking a boot camp class of people screaming at me, just waiting for those minutes to pass by. Every workout I started, I couldn’t wait to finish.
This all changed 2 years ago when I decided to leave Manhattan and make the move to Boston. The few times I did run in NYC, I felt so free afterward. Any stress or anxiety was immediately gone, and my mind was completely clear. I craved that feeling again. With this move came a better work/life balance, which did help me get started. But I now realize, all I had to do was make myself the priority the way I did for everyone and everything else all these years.
One September morning in Boston, I woke up and decided I was going to run 2 miles. I slipped on my Triumph 18s, favorite tights, made a playlist and went outside. No matter how difficult it was going to be, I was going to keep putting one foot in front of the other. It was hard, really hard. I could feel it in my chest for the rest of the day. However, I felt an incredible accomplishment too. At 30 years old, I had done something that day that I never did before. I ran 2 miles without stopping. I did that two more times before I tried running 3 miles without stopping. The next week, 4 miles, and then I continuously added little by little until I ran a 10K seven weeks later. I couldn’t believe it. I realized that I needed to stop waiting for this miracle moment to give me the motivation I needed. You are your only advocate. And I promise, nobody is watching and nobody cares if you stop to walk.
Working at Saucony means that just about everyone around you runs marathons for breakfast. The talent and passion at Saucony are both insane and inspiring. It wasn’t until my boss said, “you’re halfway there, you should sign up for a half marathon” that it dawned on me I might actually be able to do it. So on I went, adding 1 mile to my long run every weekend until I got to 12 miles five months later. In January 2020, just before COVID shut down every race, I ran my first half-marathon. I was far from first place, but I wasn’t last this time. And, honestly, I wouldn’t have cared if I was. It is one of the biggest accomplishments of my life.
Running has taught me a lot. It’s shown me how to be accountable for myself. It taught me that sometimes I’m not going to feel like running, but I will NEVER regret it afterward. It showed me that I can still try, and succeed, at new things as I get older and go into the next stage of my life. It taught me that getting outside for even 15 minutes will do wonders to turn your day around (and the chilly temps really are not so bad once you get moving). Most importantly, it has kept me sane through this crazy global pandemic. I truly don’t know what I would have done without it this past year, and I’m so thankful that I can now say, “I am a runner.” If you run, you’re a runner.
My new runner starter pack