it has been a long time since i placed in sports. when i was 10, i won trophies in soccer but after i had foot surgery at age 11, i stopped competing in everything. while everyone else was growing taller and getting stronger, i was falling behind.

we moved in the middle of 6th grade and it was too late for me to join the soccer team. by 7th grade i gave up soccer completely. i was too intimidated and too far behind. my parents put my brother and me in tae-kwon-do, which was actually perfect for me because it wasn’t a competitive sport. new people were joining all the time and it wasn’t clicky. martial arts is focused on discipline, skill, precision, and self-defense. i made some life-long friends, gained some pride, and received my black belt when i was 16.

after tae-kwon-do i focused more on school and never really got back into doing any sports. i hiked occasionally and lifted some weights at the gym but never felt fit enough to do sports with other people.

once i turned 30 something in me changed. i decided to take a year off of drinking alcohol a month after my birthday. that was 8 months ago. then i decided to sign up for a half marathon. what? that escalated quickly. my fiance, john, runs marathons and while i attended his racing events, i found inspiration in the air. i thought, “since i’m already cutting out alcohol, why not torture myself a little more and run my ass off everyday and when my year of sobriety ends, i’ll run a half marathon and reward myself with a beer”.

so far the journey has been nothing short of amazing. i have fallen in love with running (and the body that has come along with it). not everyday is perfect and i’m finding out that i’m not as fast as i was when i was playing soccer, but i can feel myself getting better every time i run.

i live in a pretty fit community here in snowmass. the trails are very popular and the races are very competitive. here comes my introverted shy self trying to run on the trails with amazingly fit people passing me. there’s people out there in their 70’s kicking my ass. what a confidence buster. i’d be lying if i said i wasn’t comparing myself.

i am a beginner runner and i am out there 5 days a week kicking my own ass. i am gaining traction and learning about my body and it’s needs. and how awesome is it to have people out there who are better than me! inspiration at it’s finest. the running community has some great people out there. we’re all on those trails suffering together, helping one-another, enjoying the wilderness, and pushing ourselves.

today i ran my first 5k race. my first “competition” in 20 years. although it was just for a good cause (and it was mostly kids and their parents in superhero costumes) i was more nervous than i’d like to admit. it was a day to see how much i could push myself. a day to beat my old time in front of other people.

the race started out a little rocky. those of us in the front went the wrong way right from the start. thankfully we quickly realized and had to backtrack but ’tis life. it was a perfect day, the trail was easy, and the landscape was beautiful. with my tunes in and my focus on my breath, i fell into my flow. and honestly, it was nice having other people to run with. it kept me in check. if no one else was there, i would have run much slower. but i was there to push myself and that’s what everyone around me helped me do.

i beat my normal time by 4 minutes and i got 3rd place! i got a freaking medal. i wouldn’t have been able to do so well if it hadn’t been for the competition. and while i am running “my own race” we absolutely need that healthy competitive aspect to push us.

i know it’s not about “not about the destination, it’s the journey”. i know that winning only brings a fleeting moment of happiness. however, little wins here and there are good for our confidence. this little win for me shows that i am on the right track. im pushing myself and putting myself out there to see what i can accomplish. as cliche as it sounds, we really can do anything we put our minds to. we just have to believe.