For most of my life, running was a punishment. In gym class, after losing a soccer game, during volleyball camp... if things weren't going well, you had to run. No. Fun. Runs were something I tended to associate with a lot of pain.
But when I decided to go to medical school after 2 years in the Peace Corps, I found that stress was omnipresent and I needed some dedicated time when I couldn't study. Time where I could organize my thoughts, enjoy the beauty of nature, and find some peace. Though I was in relatively good shape, I ran my first race in 2008 - a 2 mile "fun run" sponsored by a bar where I used to work - and I felt like I was going to die. I also found myself thinking that I wanted to do that again.
Glutton for punishment? Masochistic? Maybe, a little. (I did go to med school, after all.) But I also find that running offers both a peacefulness and an opportunity to push myself beyond what I thought was possible. 2 years later, I have finally started to feel comfortable calling myself a runner. A marathoner, even. At this point I have 4 marathons under my belt and I'm constantly looking the next challenge. I hope you'll join me on my journey.