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Evolving Goals

I'm surrounded by runners. From my husband who runs marathons to my friends who regularly do 5k, 10k, half marathons and full marathons, I can't go anywhere socially and not have at least one amazing athlete in my midst.

They have been hugely inspirational in my decision to become or attempt to become a runner instead of a walker. One of them told me recently "Sometimes I hate running but I love being a runner."

I want that. I want to be a runner.

A year ago, I struggled to simply walk at 3.5 mph on the treadmill but since then, I've gone faster, I've gone further than I ever thought possible and now this is my next challenge. Simple things like learning how to moderate my speed, how to avoid getting a cramp in my side, how slow is too slow and how fast isn't sustainable for me just yet are all new to me. New and completely terrifying.

In the freezing cold of the winter, running outside isn't always an option so I end up on my friend, the treadmill who has suddenly become something slightly scary. Tonight I realized that I had this same fear a year ago. I was completely and utterly terrified of the treadmill. I didn't trust that my body was strong enough to walk faster than 3.5 and now I'm walking at almost 4.4 without blinking an eye. My strength is so new to me, my endurance is so new. The realization that I'm essentially starting over is honestly freaking me out but then I look around when I'm on the treadmill. Thin bodies, not so thin bodies, tall bodies, short bodies, young bodies and older ones all working so hard and now they inspire me too. Finding inspiration in your fellow gym goers isn't new but it always makes me realize that this is a journey, not a race.

This 5k that I've committed to running at the end of April isn't an end. It's a part of something bigger. My mindset has shifted away from weight loss and walking and now lies in thoughts like "Can I run without stopping for 1/4 mile?" "How about a half mile?" "How quickly CAN I do a 5k?"

So now comes the next part of my life. Learning to run and I cannot wait.

-Jenn Howell

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