Run fast. Take chances. Dream big.

Sometimes, the road to your destination becomes clearer when you look back to see how far you’ve come. On Friday, Facebook reminded me that it’s been 5 years since my first half marathon, which I ran in 2:08:45.

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Although my time has improved tremendously, I rocked the same green Hollister hoodie post-race in November at the Historic Georgetown Bridge 2 Bridge Half Marathon. Some things never change.

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I know how it feels to run a 2:08 half marathon as well as a 1:41 half marathon (Hint: they both hurt). Physically, running faster gets tougher, and after five years, my beginner gains are long gone. I now work to shave seconds off a 5K or (maybe) minutes off a half marathon. I do believe my best times are ahead.

I ran three or four times a week in training, and my longest run was 11 miles. Since the area where I lived didn’t have safe places for long runs or running groups (at the time), I ran the 11 miler on the treadmill while watching a college football bowl game. Occasionally, I ran the same 1.5 mile path multiple times to reach the distance recommended on Hal Higdon’s beginner training plan.

As a veteran runner, I sometimes forget how mentally challenging it is for beginners to sign on the dotted line and enter a race. I was terrified before that half marathon- so terrified that I only told Clay I was running it. I didn’t even tell my parents until I called them on the car ride home.

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I wasn’t sure I’d run another half marathon, much less run 13 (or more) miles as a weekly long run, or actually improve at the distance. I never imagined a 27 minute improvement.

Whether you’re an elite or a self-proclaimed “back of the packer”, we all have a place in the sport of running. My 15 minute 5K friends inspire me each day, and so do my 15 minute milers. After all, races are like mullets- business in the front, but the party’s in the back. I prefer to balance the business of training with the partying of having fun.

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Success in running is different for everyone, and I define running success as whatever brings joy to your life. If your idea of success is improving your race times, and you’re willing to consistently train hard for months or even years, you can do it.

Run fast, take chances, and dream big.

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This entry was posted in Florence SC, Half Marathon, Memories, Running and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

22 Responses to Run fast. Take chances. Dream big.

  1. Yes to this! I have inspiring friends who run for the sheer fun of it and those who are speedy rockstars. They run because they LOVE the sport. I’m taking BIG chances this year and dreaming wildly big while at it. Happy weekend!

    • Amy Lauren says:

      Exactly- everyone loves the sport, regardless of the pace. We are all out there each day (well, maybe not every day, but at least a couple times a week) trying to improve ourselves as runner and people!

  2. niki says:

    Brilliant post. And totally agree with you. I’m just coming back to running after having 3 kids. I know my half marathons this year are likely to be a good 20 minutes slower than my PB. But I also know that it will feel every bit as hard…. The thing I love about running is that it’s all about “racing yourself” (unless you’re one of those fast people at the front!). You set your own goals and have your own aims. And it’s only ever about doing what *you* can do.

    • Amy Lauren says:

      I agree- the real race is within yourself. I predict you will have a great comeback too, no matter what your times say. If you’re enjoying yourself and being healthy with running, then that’s a victory :).

  3. Hollie says:

    This was fun to read Amy. I’ve been reading your blog for quite some time now, I’m not sure how long maybe 3-4 years? But, it’s been fun to watch your progress and how hard you train.

    • Amy Lauren says:

      You have been reading a while, and I have been reading yours for awhile and remember when you were in college at Potsdam and swimming and majoring in math (wow… a lot of things change). I’ve seen your progress and how hard you train too, that’s one thing I love about blogging, you feel like you get to know people and love seeing their hard work pay off!

  4. racingoprah says:

    Hi! I just discovered your blog from someone on my Twitter feed. I love everything about this post, especially the part about races being like mullets – it’s so true! I don’t think I’ll ever see mullets the same way again 🙂

    • Amy Lauren says:

      Thank you. My speedy friend Kris retweeted it, so that might be how you found it, but welcome.

      As for the mullet analogy, volunteer at the finish line of a race and you’ll *really* notice it ;).

  5. kristenk says:

    Love this! It’s awesome to see how far you’ve come! I’m thinking about running my first marathon this year which is completely terrifying, but it’s cool to think of it in this perspective – it might change my life, and who knows where I might go after that. Thanks for sharing your story!

    • Amy Lauren says:

      I think races change you; you learn from them and learn from the miles you put in training. I ran one marathon and didn’t like it, haven’t run another and don’t plan to until I stop improving at short distances… but if I had never taken that chance, I wouldn’t know that I like half and shorter better. A lot of my friends love the marathon, and maybe you will too… there’s only one way to find out, right? ;).

  6. Love this!!!!!
    I have enjoyed being able to run with you over the summer/winter and it’s been awesome to see you reach PRs!
    I’m excited to be cheering for you at the upcoming charleston half!!! You are so going to rock it out!!!!!!

  7. wanderwolf says:

    A great way to define success. I totally agree!!

  8. liz says:

    ❤ that hoodie. Keep rocking it (and those half marathons!)

  9. This is a great post. I love hearing about the journey as well as about the successes. Keep it up!

  10. Elizabeth C. says:

    Congrats on your 5-year anniversary! Your blog is extremely inspirational. You make a good point- it feels hard no matter what your time is. I think sometimes people think that it feels easier for faster runners, or just different. But I agree with you- it’s all about pushing to your limit whatever that is. Happy new Year!

    • Amy Lauren says:

      Thanks. I don’t know what I was going for here, I typed it out when writing my weekly training log post and realized it was super long. This isn’t usually how my posts go, but I had to roll with it.

  11. Love this. Hope you hit your goal at CHS.

  12. I love this! I’m writing a post right now on how I got (a bit) faster since my first races and it’s basically the same as your story (except I’m a bit slower but general trajectory is the same!). Love love love!

    • Amy Lauren says:

      The general trajectory is what matters, because speed is all relative. I feel like so many people just give up when they stop seeing PRs every race, or when it gets tough. I’ve had PRs that stood for years and then I’ve had months where it was bam-bam-bam PRing everything and getting faster. Progress isn’t always linear. That’s the faith of the long distance runner…

  13. I just love this post. I also cracked up at your race/mullet analogy. How true! I also enjoyed reading what you said about success in running being whatever brings you joy. it’s very clear that running brings you joy, and I am glad to see it every time I read your posts! I have had such a wonderful time watching you evolve as a runner! Keep up the good work 🙂

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