Over the years, I’ve worked with a lot of great clients. One of my favorite things is watching someone go from reluctantly registering for a race to really enjoying the process of running. And right now, I’m working with an amazing woman who has fallen in love with running. Hard. And in all honesty, she’s one of the few people on the planet that has really surprised me with this.
She was not someone I ever thought would enjoy distance running, but she has completely blown my mind with how much her thoughts around running have changed. When we talk now, she tells me about how her coworkers (this girl is a freaking firefighter ya’ll) have remarked how she “hates running,” and she has to correct them to say “used to hate running.”
I’m not a fan of Valentine’s Day. In all honesty, I kind of hate it. I think it’s dumb. I know. Showing people you love that you love them isn’t dumb. But a day about red chocolate boxes and streamers just wears me out. But, I do love a good story. So today, I want to share Leanna’s story. About how she fell in love with running against all odds. But let’s be clear, there are no teddy bears or bad candy assortments. Just a really great story about how amazing running is.
A Running RomCom
Leanna had an athletic background, but focused on lifting after an ankle surgery in high school. She was told by her doctor that long distance running was out of the question, and she shifted her focus from basketball to CrossFit. That’s where she and I met. And when we did meet, she was very honest about her thoughts on running, which I always appreciate.
In her words, before she started training, “I was scared and worried. If you know me or you’ve seen my quads, they don’t appreciate any kind of running. Moving large quads is hard. Also, I’m not a fan of heavy breathing. Combining all of those things in one thing, I wouldn’t say I was excited.”
Perfect running client, right? Actually, despite her feelings about running, Leanna has been a great client. She pursued running because as she puts it, she believes in doing hard things. After some really hard life circumstances, she wanted to find a “hard thing” that was chosen, rather than forced upon her. And while I don’t shy away from a little peer pressure when it comes to running, I definitely don’t physically force any of clients to run.
So, in a moment of temporary insanity (one that I was quick to take advantage of), Leanna reached out and asked for a plan that would help her start running more consistently. When she first started, she wasn’t exactly a fan of the programming. When I asked Leanna about her initial thoughts in training, she responded, “easiest way to put, I HATED every single run. It was awful, hard, humbling, and it definitely hurt.”
But what’s a good romcom without some adversity to overcome, right? Within a few months, to the surprise of everyone including Leanna, she started to enjoy running. Even though it was really hard, for a really long time. Leanna doesn’t hesitate to say that there are still a lot of hard days in her training.
It actually took another round of surgery that prevented Leanna from running for her to realize how much she liked lacing up her shoes and going for a run. The heart wants what it can’t have. Tale as old as time.
Once she was able to return to running, she went full force. She told me she wanted to train for a half-marathon, and she signed up for a chance to win a donation spot in the Boston Marathon. Which she won! I’ll hold back my level of jealous for now, but the chick is going to freaking Boston!
Like most runners, what Leanna has enjoyed the most (besides the snacks) isn’t the physical results from running. It’s been how running has helped her have space to examine her past and process her feelings about it. She started out believing that there was absolutely no way she could run something like a half-marathon. In her words, “When I first got my running schedule, the longer runs were daunting. Especially since when I started, running a mile was a struggle.”
And now, she’s about to start her training program for the BOSTON MARATHON. She’s still waiting on that runners high to make it’s appearance, (and girl, same here) but knowing that’s she accomplished her goal of doing something hard has been motivating enough. She’s gone from hating anything further than 400meters in the warm up to seeking out a full-marathon.
In this story, running is the sweet, boy next door that will sweep you off your feet the moment you realize he’s standing in front of you. It may take years, and you may walk along the whole way going, “no, this is ridiculous.” But just when you need it most, running will be there, waiting, Ryan Gosling grin and hands full of snacks.
Now, if that doesn’t warm your little heart, I’m not sure what will. I hope you felt almost as inspired reading Leanna’s story as I have in watching her transformation. And while I’m not a fan of Valentine’s Day itself, I am a huge fan of the sale on Reese’s hearts that happens on 2/15, so happy Valentine’s runners!