I was that kid in school. You know, the one who always “forgot” her athletic shoes on gym day…the one who hated anything to do with sweat, physical activity, and running.
Yup. That was totally me.
The more I look back the more I realize it was all out of fear and insecurity. I was embarrassed when I sweated. Um, hello younger Jessica, everyone has sweat glands!! If only I had discovered Certain Dry…
Aside from your typical kid problems, family life wasn’t always too great. I’ll spare you the more in depth and personal details. But to sum things up throw in some physical and mental abuse, torn family and I was left with a lot of self doubt, insecurity, instability, and unworthiness as a child. Unfortunately that carried with me through middle school, high school and into young adulthood. Fast forward to the year after high school I found myself with child. Tried to the right thing by marrying and starting a family. Again, I had failed. The relationship was dysfunctional and lasted a year.
So by 21 years old I was a divorced, a single parent working a dead end job.
Awesome. Welcome to another American statistic.
Life really began after I passed my pharmacy technician certification.
After many failed attempts to start something new or to better myself (insert one and a half semesters of college, MaryKay sales fail, applying for better jobs, failed relationships) I was angry.
I was angry at myself.
I found myself worthless, useless, and a as a BIG FAT FAILURE.
Who would want to love a wreck like me?
No college degree, a kid at such a young age, bills backed up for months, a dysfunctional family history, divorced…
I was angry. I was hurting. I was hopeless.
But something kept telling me I was better than these thoughts.
So after dropping the kid off at W.E.E. School one morning, I had work off as well, I put on some old tennis shoes, goofy looking hand-me-down shorts and tank, took off down the sidewalk, and ran.
I just ran.
I didn’t make it too far before I was crying and out of breathe…but it felt good.
I saw a local Reindeer Run 5k advertised and I said to myself, I’m going to run that. I saved for the race fee and signed up.
This decision I believe saved my life from a lifetime of failure and regret and turned it into success and achievement.
I didn’t have a Garmin, smart phone, or Mizunos at that time. So my ‘training’ plan was just to run. I ran whenever I could, lunch breaks (in my work clothes and all) during WEE school, with the kid in a stroller.
It was tough. I couldn’t run a full mile without dying.
I can not tell you how many times I stopped to cry because I had to walk so much.
But I pressed on. I would not fail this time.
Race day came December 2011 and I ran my little heart out.
I finished on 27:07 8:44 min/mile and scored 2nd in my age division. Great for a local race!
I had finished something.
I crossed my first finish line and was hooked. The feeling of accomplishment and success tasted so good! Maybe, just maybe I wasn’t a total failure after all…a year later I ran my first full marathon.
Success is possible no matter where you started.
This is one of the biggest reasons I wanted to volunteer with SMART Girls. Because maybe one of those girls needs that acceptance and love. I need to inspire her. To remind her that she’s beautiful and worth more than a million diamonds.
Becoming a runner has been one of life’s greatest blessings. It’s not just the physical act of running but it’s the whole mentality behind it.
The determination, the fighter inside, the goals and dreams.
I couldn’t run a full mile three years ago… In 6 weeks I’m fixing to run my third FULL MARATHON. It’s possible.
Keep fighting. Press on.
Have you always been a runner? How did you end up running?
blessed& beautiful running.