The Road to 6 Miles

In The Pursuit of Happyness, Will Smith's character tells his son:

Don't ever let somebody tell you... You can't do something. Not even me.

He should have also added: "Not even yourself." I think the biggest obstacle I've had to face, not just for running, but also just working out in general, was myself. I had to get over the voice in my head that told me that I couldn't. All the excuses: My legs are too short to run, I'll never have a decent pace, I'm too weak, I can't push that hard. Whenever it came to pushing towards another goal, my head was filled with doubt -- lots of it. And when I got the shin splints of shin splints last year, I felt so defeated. I had just ran four miles for the first time ever and I had hurt myself to the point where walking or even standing at work hurt. The disappointment and defeat that I felt was enough to have me using shin splints as an excuse to not run through the end of the year.

A photo posted by Risa Xu (@risaxu) on

But that way of thinking wasn't fair to myself. I gave myself a (mental) road block before anyone else or anything did. I kept trying to push myself through runs but I could only manage runs below 2.5 miles. And when I finally moved into my current apartment in August 2013, all the running tapered off. I began making excuses for myself again: It's cold. I'm busy with work and school. My last run of 2013 was October 18: 1.59 miles at a 12'38"/mile pace.

I can't say there was any one thing that pushed me to be healthier in 2014. But the two biggest influences in my life for creating a better physical me have been my boyfriend and one of my best friends, Alice.

A photo posted by Nick (@nickarvanitis) on

My overachieving boyfriend decided that he wanted to continue to do Crossfit in New York (he's originally from South Africa.) He found a Crossfit box he liked with trainers he got along with. And then in December, I got a call from one of the guys that works there telling me that Nick was on his way to the nearest ER.

My lovely boyfriend now has a scar on his left eyelid and a slight sense of fear towards box jumps now. Now both his mother and I forbid him to go to back to Crossfit. But despite all this, he still works out on his own and eats pretty clean (which helps me and my overindulging habits.)

I have to give credit where credit is due so I do have to say if it wasn't for his constant self-motivation to keep pushing, I wouldn't be pushing as hard as I have been either.

 

And I'm sure you've all seen and heard enough about Alice where you feel like she's your best friend too! But this girl has to be the biggest source of inspiration to me.

Growing up in Vegas didn't help too much with being active. Yoga was just starting to become popular, running was out of the question for those of us that relied on the comforts of A/C, and anything else was just too foreign and/or expensive for a couple high school girls to get into.

So when she moved to Boston, I kept asking her to join me for a Yoga class. And she did. And then she started running. I've seen her pace slowly but surely get better and better. Next year, we're planning to run the Disney Half as Alice and the Cheshire Cat (along with my other best friend, Cassie, who will be the Queen of Hearts.)

A photo posted by Alice Guo (@alice_yunyun319) on

 

While running through shin splints may seem like a typical #runnerproblem, for me, it's a small step towards getting stronger. And that's exactly what I did this summer. I ran through shin splints, heat, and rain. And so far for this fall and winter, I've ran 38.9 miles -- through rain, wind, and below freezing temperatures. Today alone, I ran six. I am nowhere near marathon qualifying pace and I'm nowhere near marathon distance, but after running in the best and the worst conditions, I know I'll be able to run 26.2 miles. Maybe it will be at a snail's pace and maybe I'll cross the finish line 10 minutes before they close everything up. But at least I won't have the mental road block that keeps telling me "I can't."

It's been filled with rolls and rolls of KT tape, torn socks, geese, always-coming-undone laces, post-rain leaves that want me to slip and kill me, and lots of people dodging on the sidewalks of Cambridge and Boston.

A photo posted by Risa Xu (@risaxu) on

A photo posted by Risa Xu (@risaxu) on

A photo posted by Risa Xu (@risaxu) on

The road to six miles hasn't been an easy one. It's been filled with rolls and rolls of KT tape, torn socks, geese, always-coming-undone laces, post-rain leaves that want me to slip and kill me, and lots of people dodging on the sidewalks of Cambridge and Boston. But I got there today. And I don't plan on stopping anytime soon.