How I Came to Love Running
I never been a fan of running. When I was younger, I always thought of myself as athletic. Watching sports with my brother, and playing catch in the yard was my idea of being athletic. The truth was, I really wasn’t athletic at all. When my siblinings and I were little, we were able to take sports lessons. I took swimming. After a couple of lessons, we all graduated had a piece of cake, and I still can’t “really” swim. I think I would be able to escape Jaws or a shark attack, but getting in the Olympics is another story. As a teenager I took tennis lessons. I wanted to be Steffi Graf and play in the U.S. Open. Little did I know that you had to start out young. I had a great childhood, but I wanted to be into some sport of any kind. I thought in a way, that would be my way out. In high school, I played soccer, till I tore my ACL. It is a great story to tell, even till this day, having a sports injury is a great ice breaker. After my injury, I was scared of getting hurt again, so I became assistant coach. So, still searching for a sport or in my head a way out, I started coaching soccer for kids under 10. Coaching was fun, but it was also hard when parents are involved and they all want their kids to play. In the end, the kids had fun, we ate pizza and all recived a trophy. I mean, isn’t that what it is all about.
While I still watched sports and was looking for my way. I never actually ran. I think the most I ever ran was in P.E. and believe me it was slow. While in College, in my head, I think I gave up the whole athletic goal. In my head I was getting old and I knew I was not going to be a tennis pro or any pro really.
In college, I was taking a couple of classes while working, like every college student I knew. The money that I was making couldn’t cover the cost of my classes. I had to take a step back and not take classes and look for a job that would pay me enough that I would be able to take classes and also live.
My brother was in the Army and he always was a fan of getting my into the Army. The main reason, MONEY. I would be able to get the G.I.Bill, which would allow me to go back to college. So, after thinking long and hard about it. I joined the Army.
It was crazy, even for me. I am know to do a lot of quick thinking decisions, but joining the Army was my way out. Once you sign up for the Army, there is a physical test that all soldiers have to take part of and depending on age and gender there are different times. So here I am, having to run 2 miles in less than 34 minutes.
We arived to the track that the test was going to be administer at. I bought new sneakers, thinking that they would help. We lined up and they yelled Start! I barely make it around the corner before I had to stop to walk. I was seeing all these girls and guys just running like the wind. They were running so carefree like it was fun, and here I am struggling and couldn’t find my breath. In the end I passed.
Arriving to basic training was life changing. Every morning was P.T. and yes it was running. We ran everywhere, to the mess hall, to class, to the barracks. Running was so much the culture that I hated it. I didn’t understand how everyone else was making running look like fun and I was having anxiety everytime we had to go for a run. I made it through all of it. Still not a fast runner but average.
Years after my first experience with running. I started to want to run again. I wanted to tell all my Sargents that I can run, that I am fast. I wanted to show myself that I could run. So, that’s what I did. In 2019, I got off the couch and went for a run, it turned out to be a walk, but I ran a little. Then day by day, I went longer without stop and then I became a little faster. In 2019, I ran my first Half-Marathon and it was under 2 hours and 10 minute mile and for me that was really good. When I crossed that finishe line, all I could think of was the people in the Army that told me I was slow. I started to cry when I got my medal. Till this day, its the best feeling in the world.
I recently got injured with a bone bruise and was sideline for 8 months. In those months all I could think about was running. Running is a stress reliever for me. Everytime I was sad, drepress or just had anixtey, I knew I could lace up my sneakers and go for a run. I never thought I would love running and still when I am out running, I smile. Running saved me, and it became my way out.