If someone told me back in high school that I’d call myself a runner one day I’d probably laugh at them. If someone told me I’d run a marathon even 2 years ago, I’d say “maybe one day…”
Well, God willing, that day will be October 7th, 2012.
I’m Katie and I blog over at Peace Love & Oats . I had the pleasure of meeting Chelsey almost a year ago and I’m so lucky to have such a confident and kind friend here in Chicago! While she’s enjoying her vacation time, I wanted to share a little something with you about how running has given me confidence.
Growing up I played every sport under the sun. It’s just what you did where I grew up, the afternoon activity was some sort of sports practice with all of your friends. I, however, was pretty awful at every single sport I played. I had very little self-confidence and was not exactly “aggressive” when it came to sports. I also hated running. HATED it. We had to run the mile in gym class and it was the most dreaded day of the year for me!
Softball, Junior Year. Far Right
During college I started running as a way to exercise. I LOVED walking around Charleston, where I went to school, so eventually I started running, little by little. It was an easy, cheap way to exercise. I remember one day I set out a goal to run 4 miles. Let me tell you, I wanted to DIE. It was horrible! But I was so, incredibly proud of myself when I finished. That’s when I first realized that running made me feel good about myself.
When I moved to Chicago for law school I signed up for a 10K as a way to keep myself sane during that first semester! I finished the race, but decided that distance was not for me (hah). I spent the rest of the year only doing HIIT runs and never passing 3 miles. I was obsessed with calorie-counting, weight loss and definitely was an over-exerciser. If I didn’t spend an hour and a half in the gym each day, I felt bad about myself. Eventually I injured my IT band and couldn’t run at all for months. It was during this time that I realized how much I needed running as a mental release.
When I got the go-ahead to start running again I didn’t take it lightly. I appreciated it so much more, and also started to treat my body better so that I COULD keep running. I re-incorporated carbs (gasp!) into my diet, along with healthy fats and other foods I had been avoiding. It was because I loved running so much that I knew I had to make a change if I wanted to keep doing it.
After I ran my first distance race, the Navy Pier 10 Miler, last November, I wore that medal around all day! I was so proud of myself for what I had accomplished. I knew then that I wanted to go all the way, that I wanted to sign up for the Chicago Marathon. Now or never, right?
Since then I’ve run another 10 miler and 2 half marathons. As each month passes by I learn more about how to properly fuel myself, not over exercise, and the importance of rest days. I know that if I want to reach my goal, I have to take care of myself. Completing a personal distance record and that feeling of confidence and accomplishment is a million times better than seeing a pound drop on the scale or fitting into skinnier jeans. Back then I felt like nothing I did was enough, but now I am proud of myself and my accomplishments.
After the Chicago Rock N Roll Half Marathon, 2012 – a PR for me!
Whether running, weight lifting, yoga, or any other sport is your exercise of choice, set goals for yourself, and feel proud of any little accomplishment that you achieve. Gaining confidence in yourself through a sport can translate to many other areas of your life, so get out there, set a goal and work hard! You’ll be glad you did!