I used to hate running. In fact, I used to hate all forms of exercise.
I remember dreading PE classes and always trying to fake my way out of them. Don’t even get me started on “sports day”! For some reason, my team had this notion that because I hated running, I should be doing the 1600m race (i.e. the longest one). They said I could walk it if I wanted to. Yea, right! Walk a running race while the entire school watches me? No way.
But, that was high school. And I seriously never thought I would ever run two steps in my life.
I don’t remember exactly how this came to be, but at some point at University (of Nottingham), my two housemates and I signed up for a 10km race. It was for a great cause; all the money from sign-up fees was going to the Bone Marrow Foundation. So, we thought why not? Maybe it was that I was already physically fit when I started training for that race (practicing Karate for a gazillion hours a week helped), or maybe it was the company of an amazing running partner, but I realized I didn’t hate running after all.
This race was not just the start of my running journey. When I look back on it, I realize it was much more than that. It was the beginning of a relationship that I would come to cherish every single day of my life. And that’s why running will forever hold a special place in my heart.
My now best friend and I trained for that race together. We’d drag ourselves out of the house, endure through the side stitches, and push each other’s limits. We logged many miles this way, and with those miles came many meaningful conversations, and exchanges of stories from our cultures (Armenian and Trinidadian).
That was during the spring of 2009, almost 8 years ago. Since then, we have each moved across the world, changed jobs half a dozen times, and built our own little families. We speak to each other every single day, and we go through great lengths to see each other at least once a year, despite the fact that we don’t even live on the same continent. We have run many races; though never together in person, always together in spirit. She continues to encourage and inspire me every single day, and I am forever grateful for that!
As you can imagine, pregnancy caused me to take a big hiatus from running. I tried to keep at it for as long as I could (about 20 weeks or so), but eventually had to resort to other more graceful forms of exercise. So, naturally, one of my dreams and goals postpartum was to run my first ever full Marathon!
Here we are folks, the year 2017! I am officially qualified to run not only in the New York City Marathon, but also the Half Marathon earlier this year. It’s going to be many months of discipline, hard work, and dedication; on my part, but also on the part of my family and friends who will be watching Anya while I take off for a few hours at a time. I’m sure I will have good running days and bad ones. I’m sure I will fail to stick to my training plan more often than I would like to. And I anticipate there will be many days where I will need a kick in the butt to get out of the house.
In the end, it will all be worth it! And a year from now (or many years from now) I will look back with only fond memories. Just as with that first race, I will forget about the pain, I will treasure the accomplishments, and I will have grown from the many lessons learned.
I may not have my running partner beside me this time around, but make no mistake, she’s following the same training plan all the way in Trinidad, and she’s already ahead of the game! There are two other amazing women who constantly inspire me to do better (not just in running, but all things in life). One lives in upstate New York. Every time she goes out for a run in piles of snow and/or on icy roads, I know I have no good excuses to skip a run. She’s a real badass! The other lives in Sydney. She trains relentlessly, through injuries and all of the ups and downs of life, always with such intention and joy. Watching her run on the other side of the world is a never ending source of inspiration!
And, of course, now I also have you guys! And I do hope that you will hold me accountable, that you will motivate me, and that you will be the butt kickers, when and if necessary!