You are probably seeing ads pop up on social media encouraging you to sign up for a half marathon, like the OneAmerica 500 Festival Mini-Marathon, and might be thinking, “there’s no way I can do that.” I used to think that when friends mentioned they signed up for the Indy Mini and encouraged me to do the same. No way; I am not a runner.
I grew up participating in sports where running was conditioning, aka punishment. In middle school, we had a week to run the mile in the regulated time. When I was in the group to complete it on day one, I was required by my teacher to run it in the time my older sister did, who I would call a runner. Despite being a member of the track team, I didn’t enjoy that week or get close to my sister’s time. I was a sprinter, not a runner.
Throughout my life, I remained fairly active, going to the gym and staying involved in sports like tennis and climbing. However, I would curse the gym gods whenever the only machine open was a treadmill, or when my coach demanded laps after practice. I dreaded the thought of doing 5Ks with people and exposing the fact that I was not a runner. When my friends would go for runs, I would follow along on a bike. It seemed like anyone could complete longer distances. Why couldn’t I? The excuse I carried with me was that I was not a runner and that wasn’t going to change.
Then I joined the 500 Festival. Experiencing the OneAmerica 500 Festival Mini-Marathon start and finish lines was amazing for me. It’s more than the incredible elite athletes breaking course records and the inspirational stories of those overcoming adversity to participate in one of America’s Best Half Marathons. It’s the thousands of people who maybe once didn’t think that they could achieve such a feat, but put in the time and effort to train for the race and cross the finish line.
That next week, I signed up and began training for my first half marathon in the fall. Every frustrating mile or mishap in my training, I would groan “I’m not a runner.” But with each passing week, I accomplished a new goal and progressed in my training. For every bad run, there was a good one. Food poisoning, a minor hip injury, and a flu-like virus were obstacles I had to conquer during my training, but remained focused on the end goal.
During my training, a friend told me “if nothing is hurting, keep running.” It put into perspective for me how mental running has always been for me. Growing up, I didn’t hate running because of the side stitch or the fact that it made my legs hurt. I was overwhelmed by the thought of having to run a long distance and insecure about my ability to do it. Not only did I have to teach myself how to pace and use good form, I had to teach myself how to have positive thoughts throughout my run (and eventually no thoughts, which is GREAT!).
On October 19, I completed my first half marathon. I’m thankful for the community I assimilated into and all the support I received. I’m excited for my next race and to continue improving my finish time. After all, I’m kind of a runner now.
I’m even more excited to cheer on all of the participants at the 44th #IndyMini on May 2nd! There are fewer than 200 days left, but still plenty of time to start training. Whether you can run a mile today or just once around the block, your journey to being an Indy Mini finisher can start right now.
TL;DR: You may think you can’t run the OneAmerica 500 Festival Mini-Marathon on May 2 but you can. Register: www.indymini.com/register