From 2 Minutes to 13.1 Miles: My Journey to Become a Runner
A year ago, I was preparing for the biggest adventure + challenge of my life — my first half marathon.
My entire life I had been an athletic person + an extremely active one at that. I played varisty soccer for 4 years + was used to high intensity workouts//games. When I started college I never thought I would *lose my fit* because it had always been such a huge part of who I was. But, after my Freshman year I noticed I was losing who I was//who I wanted to be.
By my Junior year, I had gained weight — a good bit of it… + I was in complete denial about it. Being fit was something I had always identified myself with + now I had lost that. Don’t get me wrong, underneath it all I was always *Morgan* + my crazy//outgoing self, but without the health//fitness aspect in my life, I honestly felt lost.
That summer my best friend, Caroline, + I made a pact — it was going to be the Summer of Fit. Since everyone leaves for the summer + we are both from Baton Rouge, we were going to make this summer all about fitness + getting back into shape. We made a goal to be able to run *The Lakes* — a 4 mile running route at LSU — without stopping!
I couldn’t tell you that last time I had run the lakes, let alone run at all! When finals were over we started right away. That first day was — to put it lightly — rough. May in Louisiana heat + first time running again — it was not fun.
Since I had played soccer I was used to running for large amounts of time, but didn’t realize how out of shape I was until then. We started off by walking the first 10 minutes then ran 2 minutes//walked 4 minutes until we completed the 4 mile route. Running for those first 2 minutes seemed like an eternity. ++ I was distraught. How had I let myself get this out of shape!
Without really meaning to, I took on the role as the *trainer*. Every day I kept the time + monitored when we ran + when we stopped. Each day, we bumped up the running time for longer + walking for less. We were finally up to running for 5 minutes, then 10! I couldnt believe it! I loved to not only see myself grow as a runner, but Caroline as well! I was on my way to finding my fit + having the chance to motivate someone else felt just as incredible.
About a month + a half into summer we went for a run. We had been doing our interval + gotten up to running about 15 minutes straight. When it got to 15 min I looked at Caroline + said “I’m feeling good — lets keep going!” + she was too so we kept going. We got to 20 minutes + kept going. I took off [lol.. sorry Caroline ; )] — I had gotten that runners high + I didn’t want to stop. I finally stopped when I got to the car + when I looked at my watch I had run for 30 minutes straight. That day was when I knew I could do anything. It seems so cheesy + not a momentous thing but realizing that less than a month ago I had struggled to run for 2 minutes really resonated with me.
From there I kept running, ++ soon accomplished my goal of running the entire 4 mile route — without stopping! Then, like any sane, person who just ran 4 miles would do, I signed up for the New Orleans Rock N’ Roll Half Marathon for February 2014. At this point it was October + I was scared out of my mind. How in the world was I going to be able to run 13.1 miles — IN A ROW — without stopping? Then, I remembered how I had the same thought only a few short months ago about running 4 miles — now 4 miles was nothin’!
During my training, #runCHAARG coincidently fell the month before my race! I couldn’t have asked for a better final motivator [since the holidays had just happened I was not completely up to speed with my training]. I was constantly motivated by the community of #CHAARGies who were putting in tons of miles + the constant comments from people telling me to keep going was crazy!
February rolled around + I was beyond nervous. I kept telling myself that I had trained for this + everything would be fine. Mentally I set a few goals for the race — 1] Finish 2] Not stop 3] Not get trampled 4] Not cry. As the race started “Don’t Stop Believing” came on the loudspeaker as the announcer yelled + sent my corral off!
During my training the highest mileage I had logged was 9 miles + I was nervous about hitting *that wall* runners talk about when running big races. But once I reached mile 9 every step I took after I told myself, “THIS is the farthest you have ever run, Morgan! Don’t stop!” I ran the race without music or a running partner […people thought I was crazy!] ++ am so glad I did! I was able to prove to myself how strong of a person I truly am. I was finally put in a situation where I was relying solely on myself for motivation + proved to myself that I can, in fact, do anything!
I finished my race in 2 hours + 45 minutes! But only accomplished 3 out of 4 of my goals. The one goal I didn’t accomplish? I cried.
I didn’t cry out of pain//fear//injury. I cried out of happiness + joy! I cried looking back to only a few months ago at a girl who was so out of shape she couldn’t run for 2 minutes straight. I cried realizing that because I wanted something + was willing to work for it, I was able to accomplish it! I cried because I was proud.
People ask me all the time how I trained + started running. I love telling people my story because I don’t think they expect to hear that I couldn’t run for 2 minutes straight…
Being able to tell others how I got my start as a runner is one of my favorite things because if I can do it, anyone can.
NO MATTER WHERE YOU ARE IN YOUR JOURNEY — WHETHER IT’S RUNNING OR NOT — YOU CAN DO ANYTHING YOU SET YOUR MIND TO. + ALWAYS LOOK AT HOW FAR YOU’VE COME, NOT HOW MUCH FARTHER YOU HAVE TO GO.
xo, Morgan [@morgsimp_inCHAARG] — LSU CHAARG Ambassador