How Far Can Running Take You?

running

November / December 2016

By Jennifer E. Wells

I can recall the exact moment that I fell in love with running. Nearly six years ago, I was standing at the start line of the Galveston Half Marathon, terrified at the prospect of being in way over my head. The gun went off, and I remember passing through a tunnel of cheering crowds, flying high on adrenaline and sporting a completely ridiculous grin.

 

That grin remained plastered to my face through the foggy streets, across a distance past which I’d never run, and finally to the finish line – fourteen minutes faster than my goal time.

For the vast majority of my life, my least favorite sport was running. It served only as punishment for other sports and a placeholder activity during offseason. If my past self could see the place that running currently holds in my life, she would be absolutely incredulous.

I was an active person from my childhood through high school, but sports and exercise gave way to other goals during college and left me with a fitness void. In the aftermath of college graduation, starting my first full-time engineering job, and the end of a long-term relationship, running emerged as a mind cleanser and stress reliever. These qualities gave way to confidence building, enjoyment, and eventually an unbounded clean slate on which to write new ambitions and goals.

Daily runs became mini-goals on the way to 5Ks. Once I realized I could actually finish a 5K, other distances crept into the realm of possibility.

Since that moment in 2011, I’ve grinned, sweat, cried happy and sad tears, worried, healed, endured, and celebrated my way through almost one hundred races. Running has carried me all over Clear Lake, Houston, and Texas; to Phoenix, Chicago, and finally Boston with plans for more.

I am forever grateful for those who first welcomed me to Bay Area Running Club (BARC), and it is a privilege and pleasure to return the favor as the current president of BARC by working to inspire anyone who wants to run, regardless of their running history or goals.

Most significantly, running has carried me farther and further than I ever thought I could go. One of my favorite occurrences is when someone else discovers they can push themselves beyond their limits, and they, too, fall in love with running. This confidence carries over into so many other aspects of life, and I love seeing this confidence inspired in others.