*Lindsay’s Note: The following is a guest post from our newest Fit & Awesome Contributor, Jacqui Somen. Jacqui and I met through our work together at Christie & Co and she is awesome! I love this story by her so much and hope she will continue to update us all on her half marathon training progress. Enjoy!
When I quit several years into my career, I felt lost. Even scarier than giving up my dream (I had made this decision after all) was the learning curve to building a new career. It seemed insurmountable. Running ended up being an incredible tool in helping me through the transition. I started running when I moved to New York for an internship in 2009, but wasn’t very consistent or serious. A few years later, I saw an ad for a 10K in Women’s Health and ripped out the page. “Wow, that seems far,” I thought, “but I’ll get a free FEED bag!” (I’m a sucker for awesome free swag). This was the accountability that I had been waiting for. Eventually, after looking at the ad pinned up on my refrigerator for over two months, I signed up for the race. The next step was to enroll all of my friends who are runners to help me build a plan (and also to put my blinders on and disregard the naysayers who said it can’t be done).
Regardless of how manageable the training plan my friends provided me looked on paper, it was hard. I remember a few times in the first weeks of training, strangers on the street commented (in a not so nice way) about my apparent struggle: ” I mean, your face is so red…”
On race day, I woke up and was terrified. What if I don’t make it across the finish line? What if I finish last? What if people make fun of me?… And you know what happened? It ended up being the most wonderful experience. As with most races I would go on to run, the distance felt far easier than it did in training and I ran faster because of the collective spirit and energy. I did not finish last that day (not even close, actually), but it wouldn’t have mattered if I did. In fact, the woman who did finish last was cheered across the finish line in encouragement, joy and celebration. Recalling this moment still brings me to tears today. Flash forward several years to 2016, a year when I ran my first and third half-marathon and have started my own business, which has been a longtime dream.
- Wow, that seems hard
- It’s an opportunity to grow, so I’ll try it
- But it’s scary…
- It’s okay, let’s make a plan.
- Oh wow, training is so. hard. ugh.
- Look what I’ve accomplished, I’m awesome! What challenge can I take on next?
The ‘simple’ act of accomplishing something that previously was thought impossible primes your brain to believe that new things can indeed be achieved. The sky is the limit.
I’m obviously not the only one who has discovered this amazing shift in mindset that can be developed by running. There are several non-profits that train people transitioning from hardship and recovery to find a new, empowered life through running. I run with Back on My Feet in New York City when I’m there (I have since moved to Miami). BOMF is an amazing organization that “uses running and community to motivate and support individuals every step of the way from homelessness to independence. Their success is measured not only by the health impact of miles run, but also by how many individuals obtain education, employment and housing.” My weekly 5:30am run was more often than not the highlight of my week. Lindsay from Fit and Awesome runs with Students Run LA, whose mission is to: “challenge at-risk secondary students to experience the benefits of goal-setting, character development, adult mentoring and improved health by providing them with a truly life-changing experience: The training for and completion of the Skechers Performance Los Angeles Marathon.”
What about you? How was running changed your life? Are you currently training for anything? Post in the comments and let us know.