Nicolette’s CHAARG Journey: I Finally Tried

If you asked me on my first day of college if I could run 10 miles, I would have undoubtedly laughed in your face.

I have never been a runner. I have never liked running, nor have I considered myself to be very good at it. Unlike a lot of other CHAARG girls, I never played soccer or ran cross-country. I attempted one season of track, but didn’t run a single meet due to tendonitis.

Needless to say, running + I have never had the best relationship. So, back in the fall when my OSU CHAARG Exec Team announced our first event [a 2//4//8 miler], I really questioned whether CHAARG was the right organization for me.

However, after I heard each of them speak + saw the passion in their eyes [looking at you, Emelie Moeller ; )], I felt really compelled to give it a shot. After training for two weeks, I ran my first race of two miles. It wasn’t very fast or very pretty, but it was so joy-filled. I couldn’t shake the feeling I had as I crossed the finish line: pure satisfaction.

The other CHAARGies supported me every step of the way + challenged me to run a 5k as my next goal. Fast-forward to two months later, I ran the Jingle Bell 5k for a dear friend’s mother who passed away from Lupus. I had walked the race before, but never thought I could run it. Again, sheer ecstasy hit me at that finish line. I wanted more.

But the timing didn’t seem to be in my favor. It was the beginning of December, + if you know anything about Columbus, OH, you know that translates to hibernation. I kept running a few days a week, but lacked the motivation of an upcoming race to keep me focused. My friends + family would constantly question me, saying it was much too cold to run outside. I tried to take to the treadmill, but grew bored quickly.

Thankfully, I then stumbled upon the #runCHAARG challenge + knew it was something I had to do. I missed the stress reliever that running had become. As someone who suffers from chronic anxiety, it had single-handedly gotten me through one of the biggest transitions of my life [if anyone says they had a seamless transition into their freshmen year of college, they are lying to your face]. I decided then + there that I would finish the 31 mile challenge, no matter what it took.

It wasn’t easy, let me tell you. There were some runs that left my skin patchy + red, with blisters on my arches + callouses on my toes. I got a lot [+ I mean A LOT] of crazy looks from people in their cars as I took on 10 degree mornings, + even crazier looks from my roommates when I would get home as they were waking up.

In the end though, I wouldn’t trade it for anything because it was EXACTLY what I needed. For so long in my life, I have been ok with settling. I have only set goals that I knew I could achieve + feared failure with every fiber of my being. The old me would have rather not done something than have done it wrong, + consequently spent a lot of time thinking to herself, “Imagine what you could have done if you just tried.”

I don’t know what finally clicked the switch, but I decided to stop fearing + start really + truly trying. I stopped setting limits for some of my runs + refused to stop until my legs just wouldn’t work. This judgment-free mentality allowed me to run 9 miles one Saturday afternoon.

I rediscovered my forgotten feeling of satisfaction, in not only what I accomplished, but also in myself: in my strength + my body + my will. To my surprise, others took notice! I received several texts from CHAARG + non-CHAARG friends alike with offers to go running, which I happily accepted.

An even bigger surprise? I reached 31 miles long before the 31st, but the new voice in my head said “keep trying.” Hence, I stand before you today having run 62 miles in 31 days, a 9 + 10 miler, + I am registered for my first half marathon. I know I didn’t run the farthest or fastest of the #runCHAARG girls, but I ran my absolute best. I finally tried. ++ of that, I’m pretty freakin’ proud.

ONE OF THE MOST EMOTIONAL EVENINGS OF MY LIFE…

I absolutely balled for the last half mile of this 5k because I was so overwhelmed by my transformation. I went from being unable to run farther than 2 miles to registering for my first half marathon. I went from hating to run to running [62.12] miles in 31 days. I went from saying “there’s no way I can” to “who is going to stop me?” Thank you CHAARG for the #runchaarg challenge, but mostly, thank you Nicolette for challenging yourself + reaching your crazy goals. So proud of you, you amazing CHAARG girl.

Thank you so much for all that you do to make my life healthier, happier, + overall, just better. CHAARG means the world to me, even after only one semester. I can’t wait to see what else I can do with the support of this community [*ahem* like the #CHAARGSBFP!]

+Nicolette [@nicolette_inchaarg], OSU CHAARG

#CHAARGJourney highlights our members’ amazing journeys through CHAARG — physically, mentally, emotionally. Nicolette was one of the five winners of the #runCHAARG 31 miles in 31 days challenge. We could not be more proud of her transformation found through running + cannot wait to continue to watch her grow [++ see her kill her half marathon ; )].

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