Making a Runner - Kristin Voyles

​I am in denial.
My story begins many years ago when I was in high school.  I was a three sport athlete and super involved in every activity at school and in the community.  Being busy had just become such major part of my life, that when high school was over, sitting down and doing nothing ate at me to the point of feeling guilty.  I HAD to be doing something or I felt like I was wasting my life. 
Flash forward to college, by far the hardest and most challenging season of my life.  I went from being super involved to feeling like I was a nobody.  I gained 30 lbs, suffered from severe anxiety, borderline depression, a slight eating disorder, and I was so self-conscious, I always had to be able to see my reflection. It was a dark, dark time in my life, and I can’t believe that was even who I was when I think back to it.  It’s like I’m telling the sad story of a girlfriend I used to know.
I remember when I was a young girl, my parents would go for runs around the block we lived on.  I remember going on my first run with them, and I ended up stopping half way through, taking a short cut through the woods, and walking back to our house. NEVER AGAIN would I “run for fun”. What does that even mean?
But, I decided I had to take control of several areas of my life and I would start running again.  I remember waking up early before class to go to the annex, and my goal for a loooong time was to just make it 30 minutes on the treadmill without stopping - a 5 minute walking warm-up, run to minute 14, walk to minute 16, run to minute 25, walk to minute 30, and try not to die.  I struggled for a long time doing that, but I was determined.  Then, I started running outside, and I remember, AGAIN, not even being able to make it out of the block we lived in without being completely winded.  It was a long road for me (literally).

Every time I put my shoes on, I would give myself a distance goal, which would be just a little bit further than the last time.  I would go about 3 miles every time, but I walked most of it.  I did this over and over again until one day… I ran all the way to the lake… and all the way back to my house… and my life changed.  *Cue a lit fire under my butt*
One day I was out running, and I remember clear as day thinking, “Someday, you are gonna run a half marathon.  And because you’re crazy, maybe a marathon too.”
Scroll back my life to this past January, when I ran the Dopey Marathon (48.6 miles over 4 days).  I currently have SEVERAL 5ks, 10ks, and half marathons under my belt, I run for fun ALL THE TIME, I have tons of future races planned, and my life is COMPLETELY different.  I really am a totally different person inside and out. I have to thank the Lord for clinging to and changing my heart and mind, my parents for being my inspiration, and to everyone now who keeps me accountable.  I would NEVER have ever called myself a “runner”, but I don’t think there’s anyway around it now, even if I am in denial.

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