"Run on..." a phrase my dad has coined in my life, a phrase I hear over and over in my head throughout training runs.
The number one question I'm asked when people find out that I am a marathon runner is, "So, how did you start running?"
I'll start this by saying, I was the farthest from athletic in High School. I was in theater and I considered the choreography for the Spring musical my exercise for the year. About a year after graduating high school, after eating lots of mac and cheese and cookies in the dorms at The University of Akron, I realized I should probably start doing some physical exercise- so I ran around the block. That run around the block turned in to a semi-regular 1 mile run, which turned into a run around the neighborhood- 2 miles. I decided one day that I wanted to be able to say I had ran a 5k so I changed my run from 2 mile to 3.1 one morning, and the next week I wanted to run the trail by my house which would be 4 miles... so I did.
Late July, for my birthday my dad took me to Vertical Runner for new runner shoes and that week I decided in my head that I would run the Akron Half Marathon in September. When I told my dad he seemed slightly worried at my overambitious and sudden goal, but I was determined and by the next week I had a training schedule written on a huge poster board with weekly rewards hanging in my room. That September I crossed the finish line side by side with my extremely supportive coach- my Dad. I had hoped to run under a 2:30:00 and I ended up with a finishing time of 2:00:18, I stood there with my medal around my neck watching everyone cross the finish line and everyone encouraging and congratulating one another and I knew in that moment I was hooked.
I moved to Chicago, IL in February of 2014 and quickly signed up for the Chicago Spring Half Marathon to ensure I would continue running with all of the life changes going on. Somehow mid-training I decided it was time for a full marathon, so in May of 2014 I signed up for the Columbus Marathon without telling my dad. That Father's Day I gave him a card that had my registration for the marathon and said "Happy Father's Day- you're going to run the Columbus Marathon with me!" he laughed and said, "did you just tell l me I'm running a marathon for my gift for Father's Day!?" That summer was filled with training, alone, for a my first full marathon. My dad was able to join me for a couple of my long runs but was constantly supporting me over the phone, and had promised me he would be running by my side from start to finish that October. The Columbus Marathon is a race I will never forget, I finished far stronger than I had anticipated hand-in-hand with my Dad.
I have now ran 7 half marathons and 6 full marathons. I've learned a lot about running since that first run around the block, but more than that I've learned a lot about myself since that first run. My time on the neighborhood sidewalks, the Ohio trails, and the Chicago Lakefront Path has taught me so much about how strong I am even when I feel weak, it's taught me to appreciate my ever constant overthinking because some of my best ideas are amongst the repetitive thoughts, and more importantly it's taught me that in the moments where I feel alone on my run God is right beside me- giving me the physical and mental strength to accomplish each new goal I've set before myself.