“Throwback Thursday” had me looking at old pics, and I happened to go alllll the way back to when I first started. When I wanted to become a “runner.”
In 2016, I hacked into my own Instagram account that I didn’t even know I had, and started looking at running pictures. Wow – so many people run, take cool running pictures, and run all these races! This looks fun! (right?)
Not long after, I found myself changing my Instagram name to “jenna.runs” and registered for the Rock ‘n’ Roll Las Vegas Marathon. Yep, I had committed to a full, twenty-six-point-two mile marathon. In Las Vegas. (The half marathon didn’t come with a free jacket, ok?!)
I won’t recap the whole marathon since I already have – but looking back years later, it was still THE hardest thing I have EVER done. Ever. In my almost thirty years of life. 26.2 miles is no. joke. The best word to describe it is – painful. I can’t count how many times I thought I am NEVER doing this again! during that very long 4 hours and 20 minutes of my life.
To put it in perspective for anyone who’s never run for almost five hours straight – a little over half-way through the marathon, I got to a point that I was too utterly and completely exhausted to take my last two gels (which are ironically intended to give you energy). The act didn’t even require chewing! (now I see why…) In other words, I could not physically lift a tube of goo from my hand to my mouth. Any and all energy that it would’ve taken to do so had to go toward putting one leg in front of another. Again. And again. For another two hours.
I am glad I did it! Wait, what? How? Why?
I don’t know. But I am. It was an experience I will never forget. I am part of the 1% of the population that has run a marathon. I am proud!
That being said – I learned the hard way.
I learned the hard way that running a marathon is NOT the defining point of becoming a “runner.”
I truly admire marathoners. I also truly admire runners who run whatever distance makes them happy. 5K, half marathon, 100K… “marathon” is just the word everyone knows. You could say “I ran a 5K marathon” and most of the population would just say “Congratulations” without a flinch.
Right now I enjoy any distance from 5K to the half marathon. I run about 50 miles a week, love my daily runs, and still do a long run every week from 12-16 miles. I’ve found my love for the sport and I know what I enjoy doing. I enjoy a challenge. My own challenge. Maybe there will be a day when I am ready for a second marathon. But you know what? I don’t want to run 26.2 miles.
That doesn’t make me, or anyone else, less of a runner.
I encourage you to find YOUR own challenge and always remember – no matter the time, pace, or distance – if you run, you are a runner.