My running journey began 4 years ago when I was afraid of becoming increasingly overweight and unhappy, and angry that I had arrived at that point in my life.
In the shadow of many failed efforts before then to find the “quick fix”, I finally realized that the path towards health and wellness was actually the most easy, obvious one if I would just commit to taking it. Although easier said than done.
Running. I’d never been good at it and always feared it. What a great way to conquer my demons!
I started out ever so slowly. My first race was a 10K; I had hardly trained but was determined to finish. I will never forget the stranger who, after finishing, ran back along the course to stay by my side while I walked and cried towards the finish.
Impatient and never one to follow a conventional path, I attempted my first full marathon just 7 months later, convinced that determination and sheer will would be enough. They weren’t and I dropped out halfway through.
A year later I returned to that same marathon, only a few pounds lighter and slightly more trained. This time my brother was running too. 6 hours and 28 minutes later, again walking and in tears, I crossed the finish line. My brother managed to get back into the finishers’ chute and he greeted me with open arms. I had done it. Barely, but despite those who believed I would fail again. No longer afraid or angry, I now understood the commitment and rewards running could offer.
Knee and shin pain threatened to derail me. A bit of research and a pair of FiveFingers later, I was on my way! The slow, patient buildup required to successfully adapt to the Vibrams was a perfect fit with where I was as a runner. My goal: the Chicago Marathon. Not just a finish. A triumphant RUN across the finish line. In Oct 2011 I did just that in 5:13!
Eureka! From the minute I crossed the finish line in Chicago something changed inside me. I knew I wanted to continue this journey and also share my story with others. Anyone can do this if they commit!
2012 was filled with many short distance races, 3 half marathons and 2 full marathons including my personal best 4:38 marathon finish in San Francisco!
If 2012 was my breakthrough year as a runner, 2013 will be the proving ground. My commitment, mental and physical strength will be tested. I will also measure success by the amount of joy felt and by the number of people who benefit from my story. We can always run faster or farther, but it’s so much more rewarding when those achievements are paid forward and used to inspire someone else. Also, the relationships, travel memories, and unique experience each race offers are priceless. I can’t wait to see what will transpire in Green Bay!!!!
–Tina M. Hauser