Ever since I was young, I have always wanted to run a marathon. Running a marathon is not an easy task. It requires perseverance and dedication, and thus, would be a major accomplishment for me. And while I had never run a race before, I used to imagine how good it would feel to cross the finish line. When I was finally ready to work towards my dream, life, unfortunately, got in the way. I was diagnosed with Hip Dysplasia and couldn’t even run a mile, let alone anything further than that. I had multiple surgeries, but there were no promises that I would be able to run ever again. Nonetheless, I continued working as hard as I could to try and achieve that dream.
Throughout my freshman year of college, I was in physical therapy working to strengthen my hips. I finally reached a point where I could run without pain. I was ecstatic and was planning on joining the running club to finally start working towards my goals. But things got in the way again. Being so far from home, I was struggling with my mental health, and I hadn’t found my place on campus yet. I wanted to run, but I didn’t have the energy to give towards running. Even when I did start to find a home away from home at UD, I became caught up with so many other things that I started to forget about that dream that I had as a kid.
It wasn’t until this past summer that I began to work towards that dream again. Life started to slow down, and it was the first summer that I didn’t have any classes to focus on. I met someone new who was a runner throughout college. At first, I began running just to spend time with them while doing something we were both passionate about. Slowly, I began to look forward to running, even if it was just on my own. I started slow, barely able to run a full mile consistently without stopping. But as I practiced, I continued to improve.
To challenge myself further, I signed up for a 5K back in October. Preparing for an actual race was much different than just casually running, especially since I hadn’t run more than a mile since my surgery in high school. While 3 miles seems like nothing to me today, I still remember all the sweat and pain I went through during those couple of months. On the day of the race, I was extremely nervous, but excited to finally take that next step. Crossing the finish line at the end, I was exhausted, but more than that, I was so proud that I had finally made it.
Part of me was a bit discouraged afterward as well because while I was doing it for fun, I also felt that I could have done better. But something that I realized was that while I am running to accomplish a goal, I am also running purely for my enjoyment. I am not fast, but I don’t have to be. I do not plan or want to become the best runner ever. Instead, I just want to do what I can to the best of my ability. I do want to push myself, but I don’t want to be caught up by everyone better than me and cause running to become something that I start to dread.
As an Honors student, it can be challenging to not focus on only being the best, but as I grow older, I am realizing the importance of knowing what is my best and doing the best that I can for myself. I appreciate the hours that I spend working hard even if the outcome isn’t as expected. As long as I am pushing myself, I am the best that I can be. I am slowly working towards my goal of a marathon by training for a 10-mile run this April. While it is a struggle to train, especially going from 3 miles to 10 miles, I know that I will be able to do it because I believe in myself. And regardless of the time on that clock, I will be proud to cross the finish line.