I'm Running a Half Marathon, I Guess?

I have never liked running. Sure, I grew up playing a number of sports and I consider myself naturally athletic, but there was always something about running that just never clicked with me the way it seemed to with other people. It has never been my physical activity of choice. Even during my gym-going days in college the treadmill was always my last choice of exercise equipment. Given the choice of running or weight training, I’d lift every time.

Somewhere along the way, it went from “I don’t like running” to “I can’t run,” which is quite frankly a ridiculous story to tell oneself when you are in fact a young and able-bodied human.  So when my friend first suggested running a half marathon this year, my knee-jerk reaction was, “Oooh, that’s just not my thing.” But the more I let the idea roll around in my head, the more I thought hey, might as well keep racking up the new life experiences this year. I realized all the times I have stood in front of a yoga class and told my students to drop the stories they’re telling themselves about their abilities and their limitations, I was holding onto a longtime story of my own limitations, telling myself that I was not and simply would never be a runner. So I’m embracing the new, the challenging, and the formerly “impossible” in my mind, and I’m running the Queenstown Half Marathon in November. 

Honestly I really just ran out of excuses not to do it. First of all, Queenstown was one of my favorite places in the whole of New Zealand, so I knew I wanted to go back anyway. Plus, this is considered New Zealand's most scenic marathon--which is saying something in a country jam-packed with scenic vistas that look like they're pulled straight from the latest issue of National Geographic. I mean check out that photo at the top of this post of Queenstown on a sub-par summer day. Also, why not start a training program when I have plenty of time, a pretty low-stress life, as well as an abundance of beautiful outdoor running routes in Nelson? I really couldn't ask for a better year to take on this challenge.

Funny thing, when you challenge yourself, more often than not you find the biggest barrier is in your mind. If you asked me a week ago if I could run more than two miles non-stop I'd have laughed in your face and told you, "Nooo way, dude." But on our first official training run the other day, my running buddy and I smashed out 5km in just over a half hour. Five days after that, we did 7km. Not too shabby.

This is what happens when you get out of your own way, people!

I have to say, making the decision to officially register was a bit like cliff-jumping into a lake. You stand on the edge for a minute, maybe watch a few others take the jump first, get a nudge from a friend, and finally just tell yourself, “It’s now or never.” Then suddenly you’re mid-air thinking “Oh God, what have I done,” and you squeeze yourself into a tight cannonball and brace for impact. Okay, maybe that’s a tad melodramatic, but now that I’ve officially registered and I’ve got just under 18 weeks to train, I feel like I’m mid-jump...let’s hope I don’t belly-flop.

So friends, here’s to doing the things you never thought you could do, getting out of your way, and telling yourself a new story!