I run, a lot, and it’s not because I love running. I run because I suck at it. I run because everyone told me I couldn’t. I run because every run is a new challenge–because I am my own biggest competition. Let’s rewind 12 years back. I was in the 4th grade, and I was not in good shape at all. I wouldn’t necessarily say that I was fat, but I was weak. Nobody wanted me on their team–I was always the last one picked during P.E. class. I had never really played a sport. I could barely run a single lap. And to top it all off, I was newly diagnosed with asthma.
Asthma is interesting because you don’t really know how long it will last. Sometimes the symptoms get better over the years. Sometimes, they don’t. For me, it was a bit of both. The first couple of years after I was diagnosed were pretty bad. For those of you who have had or still have asthma, you guys know exactly what I’m talking about. That feeling of desperation when you take a deep breathe but it never feels like you’re actually getting the air. I always had my inhaler with me, and my level of fitness never improved because I couldn’t do anything active. When I was in the 6th grade, I decided that I wanted to start running. My doctor advised against it, but I was adamant about trying to improve my asthma symptoms.
And so I began my journey of running. I would run a little bit every single day. Eventually, a lap became two laps, two laps became three, and three laps became a mile. I was so happy the day I could finally run a whole mile without stopping. I was definitely pushing my lungs to their limit, but I could feel them getting stronger.
I kept up my running throughout high school and college. I was always competing with myself. That aspect motivated me to run faster and farther every day. I ran in my first “race” about 2 years ago. It was a 5k race in Santa Monica, and I actually placed 7th in my age division! I didn’t really care about placing, but I was very proud that I had set a new PR. This past year, I spent 3 months training for a half marathon, and I ran the OC half marathon in May. It was the hardest, most grueling 2 hours of my life, but I cannot even begin to explain the joy I felt when I crossed that finish line. My stomach hurt, my legs hurt, my feet were blistered, but I had finished. I ran 13.1 miles! It’s not something that I ever thought I would be capable of doing, but I’m glad I challenged myself do it.
I’ve definitely gotten a lot stronger over the years. Yes, my lungs still act up sometimes and there are days where I feel like I just can’t get any air into them, but I’m in much better shape now than I was 12 years ago. And every run that I go on, even today, I can still feel myself getting stronger. Running, for me, is a never-ending journey of self-improvement. It doesn’t matter how fast you are or how far you can run. Your greatest moments will come from the small decisions to push yourself one step further, or to go one second faster.
Every step makes a difference, and mine have changed my life. I’ll be sharing some of my running tips/advice in a later post, so stay tuned! Thanks for reading 🙂