How I learned to like running (even though I used to hate it)

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    Running my 3rd half marathon - yes, with a huge smile on my face! Photo by Jonathan Lo Photography.

Running my 3rd half marathon - yes, with a huge smile on my face! Photo by Jonathan Lo Photography.

I hated running. It used to be punishment during soccer practice and P.E. class. Yet as a child, running was fun. Playing tag, sprinting to third-base, playing keep away. And then I would get a side ache and quit.  

So when my mother was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2005, the fact that I signed up for the Susan G. Koman Race for a Cure 5K was a surprise even to myself. At that point the longest I had ever run in my life was the mile in P.E., and that was torture!

However, I followed the training plan and managed to run the full 3.1 miles on a hilly Seattle course in 30 minutes. It felt sort of torturous, but mostly cathartic. I felt like I was doing something for my mom and for the other women who had breast cancer. I also found that my body was capable of more than I thought.

So I ran a few more 5K’s and hated them a little less each time. I maybe even started liking them a bit.

Then some coworkers convinced me to sign up for a half marathon with Team World Vision to raise money for clean water projects in Africa. I thought they were crazy. The longest I had ever run was the minimum requirement to finish a 5K. I honestly didn’t think that I could run 13.1 miles. But they assured me that if I followed the training plan, I would be able to do it. So I signed up, even though I was super scared. I read a lot of Runner’s World articles in their “beginner” section to psych me up and answer my questions.

It was on Saturday morning long runs when I finally learned to like running. Getting up early, seeing the beautiful light coming through the trees, running with my dog. A mile or two in, I would loosen up and find my stride.

I didn’t do any hill training though, so the hilly Seattle Rock and Roll course was torture. But along the way as volunteers were handing me cups of water, I remembered why I was running. I take clean water for granted, but so many people around the world don’t have easy access to safe drinking water and sanitation. So I ran with purpose and finished. My time was terrible because I hadn’t done any hill training, speed work, or cross training. But I finished the race and helped raise over $1,200.

So there you have it. The best way to get over hating running and learn how to love it is to sign up for a half marathon and run for a cause. Come on you can do it. You know you want to. I dare you.