by Amanda Marchoni
Several years ago, I thought I would give running a try again. It wasn’t that I didn’t like running, but after running in the military I was over it and stopped. Starting over was soooo hard. It was disheartening and every time I finally felt like I was turning a corner, I got hurt. As I was about to throw in the towel, a friend suggested trying Fleet Feet.
I stopped in not knowing what to expect. Antonio greeted me and listened to EVERY complaint I had about running, injuries, and frustration. As he took me through the fit process he asked all the right questions to get me really talking (not complaining) about what I was doing. He had so many suggestions for me and hearing him talk about his passion for running made me want to try even harder! At the end of the Fit, Antonio suggested trying No Boundaries a try. He explained this would be a great place for me to start or start over. The program would take us through 12 weeks of slowly adapting our bodies to running more and more, eventually culminating in a 5K race.
It didn’t take too much convincing on his part. I was already feeding off of his excitement and he claimed it was actually possible to run and not get injured every single time you left the house! Why not? Heck, throw in a light for good measure, then I ‘ll be able see too!
I remember going home that night being super excited and then realizing I would have to run…in. a. race. Finally, I convinced myself I just wouldn’t run the race, races weren’t for me, they can’t make me, etc. Keeping my anxiety in check and my resolve to never run a race, I went to the first meeting and kept going.
The race? I even decided to run that. After explaining to Pete that I could never run 3 miles let alone in a race, he said, “Well, you already ran over 3 tonight and we still have 2 more weeks, so you’ll finish the race.” (Insert mic drop here)
As much as I hate to admit it, Pete was right, I ran the race, finished, wasn’t last ( a big fear of mine), and (gasp) I loved it. Since then, I’ve done Intermediate 10K, Distance and even the Marathon group. All big accomplishments, yes, but the most important thing I got out of running was confidence in myself and healthy, supportive friendships.
Yeah, we don’t advertise that in the brochure but, running friends are the best friends. Who else will meet you at 4 am to run out a problem you are having before heading out to work? Who else is going to keep the health of your mind, body, and spirit in mind when planning happy hours, trips, and any other scheme I can come up with? Running friends know what a pain, trial, tribulation, and ultimately the physically and emotionally satisfying running can be. They know what you are capable and they won’t forget, and won’t hesitate to remind you when you doubt yourself. When you need a shoulder to lean on, cry on, laugh on, or just be silent on, find a running friend. They will go the distance with you and for you if you need it and know you can and will do the same for them. They’ll go on long trips with you either to run or if injured, will just go to cheer and schlep your water and drop around for you. They will get up at the most ungodly hours to do a long run for a run with a race they aren’t even training for. They will steal you from a planned workout and force you to take a rest day. In short, they will love and support you despite how fast or slow, how long your distance, and despite all your weird running habits. And best place to find these people is at Fleet Feet Tucson. There really is a group that is right for everyone.
Eventually, I was even asked to coach No Boundaries. One of the best experiences, EVER! You can’t imagine how rewarding it is to see the people, like me, cross the finish line of a 5K, when they never imagined they would. Running the final 5K with a dear friend of mine as her coach, and then dropping back to see and photograph her crossing the finish line seriously brought tears to my eyes. Another time, waiting just short of the finish line to take pictures of one of our No Boundaries so she could cross the finish line several times allowing me to photograph her finish at every angle is so heartwarming. I mean, this is a person that did not even tell her family she was part of the group because she never really believed she could finish. Can you imagine her joy and her family’s surprise as she sent all those pictures to them? I wonder who was more excited her family or me?
It is amazing what you can accomplish with a great group of people running with you and looking out for you, especially when the Fleet Feet crew is part of the mix! So, come on in and sign up! Your friends, confidence, and future are waiting for you!