When did I become a runner?

Back in May, I ran my first half marathon, the NYRR Brooklyn Half, along with my friends Dan and Sara. This weekend, I ran my second, the NYRR Staten Island Half. This came exactly two weeks after running the NYRR Bronx 10-Miler. (I ran both of these with my awesome actor friend, Lipica Shah - check her out here!) In both half marathons, I came in under two hours, which was the goal I had set for myself. 

Why am I sharing this? Because if you had asked me about running two years ago, I would have told you that anything beyond two miles was simply not possible. That was a hard limit I had set ever since I had to run two miles every day for my high school dance team and HATED it. That distance was grueling and impossible. I felt utterly incapable of going any farther, and I had no interest in trying. 

My boyfriend convinced me to run a Thanksgiving 10K with him, a race he ran with his mother every year. Training for this seemed terrifying. How in the world could I do 6.2 miles, when I had determined my body could not go beyond 2 miles? I printed out a training schedule from Runner's World and followed it as meticulously as possible. Lo and behind, I ran 6.2 miles. And I did it again the following Thanksgiving.

When my boyfriend signed up to run the New York City Marathon on behalf of a charity I care deeply about, the Innocence Project (read about their awesome work here), I was totally inspired. For anyone who hasn't witnessed the NYC marathon, or any significant marathon for that matter, it's an incredible sight. Watching tens of thousands of runners from all walks of life accomplish this seemingly impossible feat is so moving, and it was really cool cheering for Paul as he made his 26.2 mile trek though the city. (Let me tell you, it's a grueling experience trying to catch someone in different places along the five borough route, especially when that someone is running a much faster pace than you had anticipated.)

After watching Paul undertake such a daunting and awesome endeavor, I decided that I needed to push my own limits, which brings us to this year's running accomplishments. I don't know whether I will ever run a full marathon. I like the length of a half, and I don't know that I am interested in putting the hours of training in that a full marathon requires. Plus, I want to return to some of the other forms of working out that I love and have had to put on hold during my race training, but I feel really proud and happy knowing that I am capable of so much more than I imagined. That my body can adjust to the demands I place on it, if I just up my distance a little bit at a time. Go a little farther. Run a little faster. Until reaching my goal.

I'm trying to apply this mentality to the rest of my life. If I can just work a little harder, if I can just go a bit beyond what I think I can do, I will accomplish great things.

Erica

P.S. Here are some fun pics from my first race through my most recent, including finish line selfies, Paul's post-marathon happy face, the evolution of my running shoes, and my awesome running friends. Enjoy!