This guest blogger shares with us her journey in becoming a runner. She has motivated me to push harder, continuously challenge myself, and be 110% dedicated to my training. Please welcome Leticia from Running around Hungry:
Hello everyone! My name is Leticia and I have the privilege of being Divya’s guest blogger for today! When I found out I was going to be guest blogging, I must admit I was quite nervous. It is, after all, my first time doing this. Actually, I am new to the blogging world altogether; I only just recently started my own blog after years of following and reading others daily running/eating/cooking/fitness adventures.
Lucky for me, Divya posed a rather intriguing question. She asked me what it was that inspired me to take the plunge and decide to run a half marathon, and if running had ever been a difficult thing for me. It was then that I knew what I had to write about. The truth is, up until about a year and a half ago, running had always been a difficult thing for me!
You see growing up I was a basketball player. And pretty much since I started playing at the age of nine, running was used as a form of punishment for us. We ran when we missed a free throw, we ran when we made a bad pass, we ran when we lost a game. We ran to get into shape, we ran to stay in shape, and we ran because we weren’t in good enough shape. I didn’t care, though, because I ate, slept, and breathed basketball and I would have done anything to be able to play. Actually, I did do a lot to be able to play, like having three knee surgeries, two of them being major ACL reconstructive surgeries. All of this for the love of the game!
What I did not love, however, was running. I hated it, actually. I’ll never forget the first time I ran three miles. It was in the middle of volleyball season my junior year in high school and my volleyball/basketball coach decided to have us run in a Cross-country meet. Being that I was from a very small town (we’re talking one stoplight, here!) there wasn’t exactly a plethora of athletes to choose from. So what she did was take her volleyball team, suit us up and made us run in the meet. The meet was on Saturday and so the Wednesday before that she took us out on a “practice run”. She loaded all nine of us into the back of her truck, drove us three miles out into the back roads in the middle of the surrounding fields, and dropped us off. We knew it was either run back or be stuck out there in the middle of no where! Despite the fact that I had NEVER run three miles before, and neither had most of my teammates, I managed to finally make my way all the way back at the school. When I got there she handed me my uniform for the upcoming meet.
That Saturday we ran in the Cross Country meet and, having just recuperated from my second ACL surgery, I was forced to wear both of my giant knee braces. The entire time I was running, my knee braces rubbed together where the joints hinged and occasionally caught and got stuck together. Somehow I managed not to trip and fall and finished the race anyway. The whole time I was running I could hear the on-lookers. Most of them were cheering me on, but some were teasing me, calling me names like “Bionic Woman” because of the metal around ¾ of my legs.
This was nothing new; I was used to nicknames like this and didn’t let it bother me. I just kept running and concentrated on finishing the race. Eventually I did, and I came in – are you ready for this – last. Dead. Last. I was embarrassed (humiliated, really, because I was really good in basketball but horrible at this) and exhausted. Nevertheless, I was relieved to have that horrible experience over with.
As you can probably tell, that memory has stayed with me all these years. That happened almost 20 years ago. Yet I can recall it with such vividness that I can describe it as if it happened yesterday. I guess you could almost say I was a little traumatized. Why is it that in life it’s the painful things that stick with us the longest?
This is WHY I RUN. I run because I can.
I run because I don’t have to wear two giant knee braces and my legs are better than ever. I run to forget all those nicknames that people used to call me. I run to show myself that I can keep going…for 13.1 miles, even…and not quit, no matter what, just like I didn’t that day. I run because I remember the days when I hated it…and bask in the knowledge that I ACTUALLY ENJOY IT NOW! I run to remind myself that it is a PRIVILEGE to get to run, because there are so many people in this world who couldn’t, even if they wanted to. And most importantly, I run…every single day…to prove to myself that although I may not be the fastest runner in the world, I am steady and have stamina and I WILL FINISH, and I WILL NOT come in dead last. Ever. Again.
This brings a whole new meaning to the phrase, “I run because I can,” doesn’t it?
Why do you run? =)