Challenge yourself

Ten weeks ago, I was feeling unmotivated and lazy.

Without a regimented practice schedule and a coach telling me exactly what to do, I had no desire to workout.

As a college athlete, I knew sitting on the couch all summer wouldn’t do me any good. Something had to change.

Without much thought, I decided to get back in shape by training for a half marathon. I found a plan online, taped it to my fridge and started running the very next day. What started as simply working out evolved into something much more.

During the last weekend of August, I set out early on a Friday morning for my first 10-mile run. Earlier in the summer, I might have just stayed in bed, but fortunately, my training had prepared me not only physically, but also mentally. I’d become disciplined, so hitting the snooze button was no longer an option.

When I finished the 10 miles, my first thought wasn’t about how many calories I’d burned or what I’d look like in a swimsuit. I realized training for a half marathon was about so much more than just getting back into shape.

After weeks of training, race day finally arrived on Saturday. The 13.1 miles was more grueling than I had anticipated. Somewhere around mile five, I remember thinking, “Wow, no wonder not everyone does this.”

At times, I considered stopping, but I pushed forward—body and mind working as one. One by one, I completed each mile until I finally crossed the finish line.

The race itself wasn’t as enjoyable as I’d hoped, but the feeling I got when it was over may never be matched. The painful miles made for an overwhelming sense of accomplishment.

Because I challenged myself, I ended up changing myself, not just physically, but mentally, as well. Now the search is on for my next big challenge.