Just typing the words for the title to this post made my jaw drop. How did I possibly run not only one, but TWO half marathons? Me, the girl, who couldn’t run 30 seconds without wanting to die. The same person that would see runners on the street and make fun of them because “who runs for fun?”. Well I will tell you how; I worked my ASS off.
October 31st, 2011 changed my life. That was the day I decided to put my health first and began my journey of losing 140 pounds. My only real goals while losing the weight was to be able to wear any clothes I wanted and feel good about it but I never had any fitness related goals. Honestly for the first year and a half of my journey I dreaded working out and did it just because I knew I needed too. Then something changed inside me, presumably because I was able to work out harder and was getting stronger, but I actually began to enjoy working out. I seriously owe my love of running to my husband, Brian. He used to go to the gym with me (still does) when I first started and was the best supporter. Brian started running on the treadmill and would tempt me to try, before that all I had done was the elliptical and bike. So one day I started running, very slowly, and only for 2 minutes at a time. My workout would go a little something like this: 2 minutes run at a slow speed (I thought it was fast) and then 2 minute walking to cool down, repeated for 30 minutes. Once my body was able to run a bit more I would up it to 3 minutes running, 2 minutes walking, and so on. Then I got a little braver and decided to run for 1 mile straight, then 2 miles straight and finally ran a 5K on the treadmill, without stopping. The feeling I got after running that 5K was unlike NOTHING I felt in my fitness journey thus far (I still have the picture of the treadmill “workout recap”).
Fast forward a few months: I was continuing to run on the treadmill and get a little faster and was loving it. Then my husband and I moved to a new apartment in lower Manhattan in the spring time and I couldn’t resist trying to run outside. My first run outside was amazing and so many things started happening. I fell in love with New York again, the running paths downtown are amazing, I started losing weight faster than before,I looked forward to my workouts and could do it with my husband and lastly I was getting faster, much faster with every run.
I signed up for my first “race” in July 2013, the Color Mob 5K (or color run). Basically it is a run for fun, non timed, and people throw colored chalk at you so you come out like a giant tie-dyed shirt. I had a good time but it wasn’t some life changing experience and I decided to hold off on races for the time being. The summer was a whirlwind, I got married on September 14th and the entire summer was spent planning and eagerly awaiting the big day. When my husband and I got back from our honeymoon I randomly got the urge to race and found a 10K located right around our apartment building in lower Manhattan. Last minute I signed up, and I swear I must have told my husband that I wasn’t going to go about 30 times because I was so nervous. Well low and behold I went, and it was so much fun. My husband came and cheered me on but I didn’t know anyone in the actual race and that was okay! That was the race that made me love racing so much. The second I got home I was researching upcoming races and ended up doing a few in November and December. I actually became so hooked on racing that I decided to step out on a limb and sign up for the New York City Half Marathon (this was in December, the race wasn’t until March).
On January 1st, 2014 I set a New Years resolution that I so far have kept and I am incredibly proud of; run 1 race per month for the entire year. I have 2 left! Eek🙂 Any who as you all know I ran the NYC Half Marathon in March of this year and I seriously have never felt so accomplished. The race was a BREEZE compared to any other races (even my 5Ks), I had so much adrenaline the entire time that I swear I could have kept going. Crossing the finish line to see my parents and husband waiting for me was something I cannot describe. I did it. I lost 140 pounds and I ran a damn half marathon.
On October 12th, 2014 I ran my second half marathon in my new place of residence, Boston (I grew up here but lived in Manhattan for 5 years and recently returned home). Let me tell you, this race was not a breeze. For the first 10 miles it was awesome, the crowds were cheering, my legs felt great and the weather was brisk yet not too cold. And then came mile 11. I hadn’t run more than 10 miles since March (when I did my first half) and I could feel it. I am 100% to blame for my lack of training but I learned a lesson. My legs were done, my head wasn’t in it anymore and I just wanted to finish. It’s hard to believe that the last 3 miles could really be that difficult but seriously it was rough stuff. Guess what? I finished and came in TWO seconds faster than my first half marathon with a time of 1:49:48.
When I ran both half marathons there were a few times while running that I actually got choked up thinking about what I was doing. Yes, I am a huge sap, I cry at everything, but I am honestly proud of myself. I seriously advise to anyone going through a health journey, find something you love to do, and do it. Whether it be running, hiking, biking, swimming, dancing, or whatever. Before I was a runner my only hobby was shopping (yes I am serious and its still high on my list) but it really feels good to have a hobby like this. Hello, my name is Jessica and I am a runner.