A couple of weeks ago, the folks with Dirty Girl Run reached out to me to be an ambassador for their all women’s mud 5k. While I love running regular races, I have never done a mud race of any sort. I am always open to trying new things, so I decided to give it a go!
Considering this is the very FIRST mud run I have ever even seriously considered running I thought I would go back to the beginning of my running journey and share that story with all of you.
Growing up, I never considered myself an athlete.
In fact, in middle school I thought it would be cool to sign up for the cross country team and I distinctly remember going to my first practice, walking the ENTIRE time, being extremely hot, and then quitting the cross country team to be part of the school musical…
During high school, I was still very involved in the music program and performing, but I was also on the cheerleading squad. We had to do some running for cheerleading, but that was always a form of punishment. Show up late to practice? We had to run. Someone on the squad had bad grades? We had to run. For me, running was still not “fun” or something I volunteered to do.
Fast forward to my Freshman year of college. This is when I really started to get into actually “working out.” I wasn’t in show choir or cheerleading anymore, so instead I started to fall in love with group fitness. This is when I also started running.
Beginning in my Freshman year of college, I ran 3 miles. That was my limit. I remember completing my first 5k between the summer of my Freshman and Sophomore year thinking that was the longest distance I would ever run. I was pooped by the end!
After running 3 miles for a couple of years, I started to wonder if I could ever run MORE than a 5k. I knew I could if I properly trained and put my mind to it, so Brian and I signed up for the Firecracker 6 race here in Indianapolis. We were both going to beat the 3 mile distance together!
After completing that race, I was absolutely hooked! I had a friend signing up for the Indianapolis Women’s Half Marathon which was just a few month after this 6 mile race…so I signed up with her! Training for that race through the summer was hard, but my goal was just to complete the race and feel good at the end.
Race day came, and it was such an amazingly emotional experience. I crossed the finish line and I was so happy, and shocked that I actually did it, and full of all sorts of emotions I couldn’t help but cry! (and I still cry just about every time I cross a finish line still today!)
And that’s when the bug bit me…
Since then, I have completed 5 half marathons and I am training for my 6th right now.
With each race, I set a new goal for myself:
I love the sense of accomplishment I have with each race, and I love that training is never easy, it’s always a challenge.
Running has never been something easy for me, but now it is something I enjoy. Not only do I run races for myself, but the races have become traditions that Brian and I look forward to doing together as we run a race on Thanksgiving and the 4th of July each year. We even ran a race together the day before our wedding 🙂
The next big milestone?
Completing an adventure-style mud race! Am I nervous? Of course I am! BUT I know it will be a great learning experience and definitely something fun to look back on.
I can’t wait!