Then and Now: How Running Has Changed Me

Happy National Running Day! I wanted to share some of the coupons/ deals I’ve seen on the web over the last couple of days:

– Women’s Running Series has discounts on their 5K/ half marathon races in Tennessee, Arizona and Florida

– Rock ‘n’ Roll has discounts on a whole bunch of their races all over the US for this year and next year! I’m tempted to sign up for RnR USA again…

– Not a coupon, but here’s a fun article from Active.com on Top 10 Ways to Celebrate National Running Day

How Running Has Changed Me

I don’t use the words “life changing” lightly; it needs to be in reference to something that has literally changed the way I live and see myself and the world everyday.  I started running to train for a race in February 2012 and certainly didn’t expect that I would still be running over two years later! It’s more than just an activity or even a hobby; running has changed my life in many ways.  Here are a few of them.

Then: I NEVER saw myself as athletic in any way. I never really played a sport growing up and I looked for the easiest gym/ PE options possible because I figured my strengths were more intellectual than physical. I remember a conversation I had with a personal trainer in 2009; I had just joined a gym and was taking advantage of the one free training session they provided. The trainer asked me to write down what I ate during the week, and he told me that I needed to eat higher quality food because I was an athlete. I thought, athlete? He has me ALL wrong.

Now: I’m a runner. I’m capable of running for 4+ hours at a time, and I work out 5-6 times a week. I follow training schedules and do drills and strength workouts to improve my running efficiency and form. My PRs are constantly improving and set new physical goals for myself every year. I eat more nutritious foods to help fuel and recover from workouts.  Heck yes, I’m an athlete!

Then: I always thought that I wasn’t skinny/ tall/ beautiful enough. This lie has plagued me a lot over the years because South Korean body image is pretty screwed up. The ideal Korean female body type looks anorexic, and actresses my height and taller weigh 20 lbs less than I do. As much as I tried to hold onto a healthy perspective on my body, I always had the nagging feeling that I needed to lose weight.

Now: Yes, my quads/ calves are big and don’t fit into jeggings or most skinny jeans. I don’t care. My muscular legs are freakin’ amazing and beautiful! I do still struggle with body image from time to time like anyone else, but it’s hard to come back from an “easy” 10 mile run and feel anything but impressed by what my body can do!

Then: I used to give up when something got too tough or uncomfortable or painful.

Now: I’m not a quitter. Running has trained me to persevere in a way that nothing else has. It’s cliché but so true – I’ve learned to keep going when the going gets tough, pain is temporary, and I’m stronger than I think! Running is awesome mental training for many other areas of my life.

Then: I used to think that I wasn’t the adventurous type, and I felt like I didn’t have much to talk about with other people (“how was your weekend?” “oh, good, yours?”). My weekends were filled with chores and TV – nothing to write home about.

Now: Running has brought out the adventure lover in me! Running and racing have become gateways to all sorts of things I now want to try – hiking, climbing, extreme races – the sky’s the limit! My passion for running has revived my passion for living – I look forward to each day and weekend in a way I never did before. It’s given me something to talk about at the office and with friends, and I’ve discovered that many people either run or want to run so we have a lot to talk about!

So, I’m so grateful that my friends signed me on for that half marathon 2 years ago. I’m grateful that I crossed the finish line to my first marathon in 2012. I’m grateful that God gave me a healthy, strong body and I enjoy working out now. I’ll never be elite and I may never win a race, but that doesn’t matter.  The day may come when I can’t run anymore, but I think the lessons that running has taught me will stay with me forever.

How has running changed you?

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2 thoughts on “Then and Now: How Running Has Changed Me

  1. Rachel

    I totally feel like I could have written this post! I started running in 2013 with the NWH in DC. From there my sister-in-law and I decided to sign up for the RnR USA Marathon, followed by my signing up again for the NWH in DC. I never thought of myself as a runner, but rather a distance biker. I used to say oh I don’t run, but here I am about a year later with a list of possible races to do this fall and next spring starting with the Annapolis 10 miler. Congratulations on all your hard work and if you ever need a running buddy I’m here in D.C. as well!

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