Dear Runner

Dear 14 year old me,

You’ve just discovered this new hobby thanks to a friend and lack of hand eye coordination on the basketball court, and believe it or not this will be fun. But there are some things you should know…

  • Running isn’t just something you’ll just do in middle school, you’ll continue into high school, college and even when you’re an adult. This is going to become a way of life, not just an extracurricular activity.
  • In those same years you’re going to have 5 different coaches. You’ll learn something new from each, but only one will stand out and be there for you after you’ve graduated. Let her know how much it means to you.
  • You can’t turn all your friends into runners, trust me. They’ll support you, think you’re crazy and try once in a while to run, but they just don’t love it like you do.
  • The friends you do make from running will become some of your closest friends, they share the passion you have for this sport and understand how exciting it can be.
  • Running a 5k in sub 23 doesn’t seem fast in high school, but eventually you’ll be begging to run this quick again. You may not have been the fastest, but you were determined and you never gave up. Your best time will be your final 5k in college.
  • In college you’ll be daring and try new things, like buns. You may look silly and your butt will barely fit into these. You’ll be the only one on the team who likes to wear them but that’s ok. Plus they make you look fast.
  • You’ll find your greatest motivation from quotes and pages of Runner’s World that you tape to the back of your bedroom door. You’ll eventually tear them down, but some of the quotes will get you through the hardest parts of your races.
  • You’ll have the same pre race routine throughout all your years of running. Make sure you stock up on chocolate chip granola bars, lemon lime Powerade, and pasta. Lots of pasta.
  • You’ll run your first “long distance” race in Indiana, in the middle of December, in a foot of snow. It’s 10.8 miles, and part of a 50k relay. Surprisingly you’ll enjoy it enough to come back the following year. Keep this is mind when you complain about running Cleveland winters, you can handle the snow.
  • At some point, you’ll decide you want to try a half marathon. It will be tough, cold and miserable at some points, but the moment you cross that line you’ll be hungry for more. And you will run more.
  • After your first half marathon, you’ll quickly fall in love with this distance. It will become your favorite race, each one a learning experience. You’ll run them back to back and join a club called Half Fanatics with other crazy half marathoners. You’ll even travel to other states to run, including Colorado where you will put altitude training in it’s place.
  • You’ll have some of your best alone moments when you’re running. Sometimes you’ll think about everything under the sun, other times you’ll have an absolute clear mind. You’ll have moments when you can’t run any further or think you’re doing a horrible job. These moments will make you a stronger runner, because you are your biggest critic.
  • And just when you think you’ve figured out running, you make the decision to sign up for a marathon. This is the moment when you realize that you are indeed crazy. It will push you to your limits. But you’ll learn a lot about yourself, about the runner that you are and they runner you’re becoming. This is when you’ll realize that every run is important, not only in training, but in life.

So when you’ve had a bad run, or you don’t feel like lacing up those shoes, remember that you’re going to do well. You may not be the fastest, you may not have the best running form, but you are a runner. You will always be a runner.

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