In April 2012 I thought I’d impress my new boyfriend by cheering for him as he ran the Flower City Challenge Half Marathon. I’d always admired and envied runners, and as I stood waiting for John to finish, I was overwhelmed by the fact that these people had just run 13 miles. I couldn’t imagine ever accomplishing something like that. Two weeks later, remembering how I felt seeing those runners, I impulsively decided to register for a local 5k race and try to run it. Dressed in a fleece sweatshirt and yoga pants, I’d barely gone a hundred yards before I was exhausted and gasping for breath. I tried a run /walk, but as I neared the finish and saw the crowd of spectators I was so embarrassed by how far back in the pack I was and how hard I was struggling that I slunk off the course and didn’t cross the finish line. It was obvious I’d never run.
But I was wrong.
Confessing my failure to John, he encouraged me to attend an orientation at Fleet Feet for the No Boundaries 5k Learn to Run program. I was terrified I’d be the oldest, chubbiest, least athletic person in the room, but I looked around and saw people just like me. I’d always wanted to learn to run, and this seemed to be my chance. I signed up, followed the program, meeting other participants for homework runs, attending all the group workouts and little by little, step by step, becoming a runner.
I ran Summerfest, our graduation 5k, in August 2012. Even with a couple walk breaks, I ran most of the race and finished strong. In November 2012 I ran another 5k without a single walk break. I returned to No Boundaries to take the 2.0 program, and was able to run a 10k in February 2013. Nervous but encouraged, I signed up for Half Marathon training. In April 2013, one year after I stood and watched people crossing the finish line thinking “I could never do that”, I completed the Flower City Challenge Half Marathon myself. A stronger runner, I ran it again in April 2014, improving my finish time by over 15 minutes.
If someone had told me they were going to introduce me to a program that would lead to better heart health, more confidence, dozens of new friendships, a cure to the wintertime blahs, more restful sleep, less stress, and a stronger belief in myself and my capabilities than I ever imagined, I would have immediately been skeptical. Not only would I have doubted such a thing existed, even if it did, there would be no way I’d be capable of doing it.
I was wrong again. No Boundaries is that program.
My running journey has now come full circle, and I am a coach for the No Boundaries program.
Running has changed my life and taught me there is nothing I cannot do, if I only believe in myself and work hard.
Sole Story by: Christine