by Lanie Prince
I still remember it like it was yesterday. My friend, Patty, came up to me on a Thursday night in January. She asked me if I would like to train for the St. Jude Half Marathon in Nashville with her and my two other friends, Brittney and Connie. I eagerly said, “Yes!” She told me that I would only have 3 months to train and wanted to know if that would be enough time. Honestly, I never doubted myself when it came to that. I knew I could do it. I signed up for the race the second weekend in January with Connie. It was an amazing feeling.
A few weeks had gone by and my friend Brittney asked me if I had been training. I really hadn’t, but I said yes, so she wouldn’t be disappointed in me. I kept seeing the other girls running and I knew I had to start soon. On January 21, 2018, I made a decision. That decision changed my life. I walked/ran my first 3 miles. I ran down Veteran’s Parkway. It wasn’t as bad as I thought. So, I kept running 3 miles almost every weekday. After I started running 3 miles, my running group wanted to start our long runs. We started going to Shelby Forest every weekend and kept increasing our miles until we got up to 11 miles.
I remember my first long run. I ran 5 miles. I had never ran that many miles in my life and my hip started hurting. I remember asking a lot of people what I should do. Some kept saying to keep going to make it stronger and some said to stay off of it, or swim, or do the elliptical for 2 weeks. I did my own thing. I didn’t run for a whole week and just did the elliptical along with sitting in the hot tub and steam room. That helped tremendously. I didn’t hurt much after that.
Along the way, I completed a couple 5k’s. I am not a very fast runner though. I can do a 10 minute mile on a great day but usually I run a mile within 13 to 14 minutes. My time never got much faster than that. I was just able to run without my body aching as bad.
Time was going by fast. April was almost here. People kept asking me, “Was I Ready?” My answer was always, “I’m as ready as I’ll ever be.” In a blink of an eye the weekend of my half marathon was here. We all met at Connie’s house and rode in her car. When we arrived in Nashville it was so crowded! We finally arrived at the place to pick up our packets. It was crazy busy. I had one of the best feelings. I felt that I had actually accomplished something. I felt so confident and on top of the world. That was a Friday. That night we walked all downtown and ate at a Mexican restaurant. I needed all the carbs I could get. After that, we made it to our hotel room around 9 o’clock. I was a little anxious, so it was hard for me to fall asleep. My friend Brittney and I ended up walking to the convenient store around 10 o’clock that night because we couldn’t sleep. Finally, around 11:30 I dozed off. I had to be up by 5:45 a.m. to be at my terminal by 7 a.m.. 5:45 came faster than I expected.
My alarm went off and I casually woke up and started getting ready. I remember letting my running partners know that I was so nervous. I was scared that I wouldn’t complete the race or that I would get bored along the way and have little motivation to keep going. It turned out to be the exact opposite. It was the most amazing experience! There were people everywhere cheering us on. It felt amazing. I didn’t want to stop! As far as I knew, I was on top of the world. I felt as if I could go forever. I mainly walked fast because I didn’t want to run out of energy. As I walked the scenery kept changing. It was so pretty. I remember hitting mile 9 and was anticipating seeing the finish line. It seemed like the miles got longer as I got closer to finishing. As the race came to an end, I came around the corner and went over a bridge and saw the finish line. I told myself that I needed to start running and smiling because I knew they were going to take my picture. When I passed that finish line, I smiled and thought to myself, “I DID IT!” I was so proud of myself! I knew I made my parents proud and I proved the people wrong who thought I couldn’t do it. It was one of the best feelings I have ever had in my whole entire life. That night my running partners and I went out downtown and celebrated. We ate, shopped, and went to a concert. We really enjoyed ourselves. The next day we got up and left. I was a little sad because I didn’t want it to be over. My running partners and I discussed it and decided to run another one in Hot Springs, Arkansas in November.
Still to this day I run. Running has changed my life and changed me as a person. I can tell that I am happier now. I love life more. I actually like looking in the mirror. Mostly, I am confident! That is something I have never been. I feel free. Running has made me into a “go-getter!” For example, this summer I worked almost 40 hours a week, kept up with my running, and achieved a 4.0 in my summer classes. I honestly believe that if I would have never started running I wouldn’t have had the energy, confidence or determination to do all of that. No matter what kind of situation I am in, I make sure that I make time to run. I am a different person spiritually, mentally, and emotionally. I have lost almost 50 pounds and plan on keep going. As long as the Lord keeps me healthy, I will never stop running.
If you ever get to a point in your life where you feel like you’re not good enough or wish you could change something about yourself, I challenge you to start running. Find someone that would be interested in doing it with you or do it by yourself. It is one of the most stress relieving things you can do. I have no doubt in my mind that you will love it. Start today!
Nevertheless, I would like to give a big thanks to Brittney, Connie, and Patty for motivating me the whole time and sticking by my side. Also, all of this would not have been possible without the Millington YMCA. I am so thankful for all the opportunities it has offered me. With all of that being said, if you guys ever have any questions, please contact me through Facebook messenger at Lanie Prince or through my email at Lanieprince16@aol.com. If you need help getting motivated or have any question pertaining to running, weight loss, etc. Please contact me. I will be glad to help out any way I can!