One of my favorite aspect of being an Altra Ambassador is getting to know so many amazing runners through the ambassador FB page. Every time I hear about the things they are doing, I always question why Altra would pick me to represent their brand in the same space as these truly amazing runners.
So much so, that I wanted to share it with you guys. Enjoy.
As I rounded the corner to begin the final lap of my very first 800 meter run in the sixth grade, my legs felt like lead. I stopped to walk, and as I did, I watched the first place girl continue on with the same quick stride, finishing meters ahead of anyone.
I had never felt more defeated. Here I had entered a running race, and I could not run, but had to walk the entire second half of the race.
It was then when I decided that walking wasn’t an option. I loved the feeling of running, and stopping to walk in the middle of a run, just didn’t seem right.
I worked hard on building my endurance, eventually building enough stamina to sustain me through 800 meters — the race that strangely enough, became my specialty in high school and college.
And while there were times that I felt like walking, I never did. I remembered the defeat I felt at that first track meet, and never let myself go there.
Over the years, I began to build my endurance to where I could run a 5K, then a 10K, and eventually a half marathon, then a marathon.
With each distance I had completed, I held great pride in the fact that I never stopped to walk. I had always stayed true to what I felt the challenge of the event was: to run from start to finish, as fast as you could without stopping — not even to walk.
All that changed when I entered my first ultra-distance race. It was the Zion 50K in 2014. After 27 miles, my legs began to burn, and I found that running was no longer an option. I tried to walk, but loathed every slow step I took. I was a runner, and I didn’t come here to walk.
I threw in the towel, and vowed that the next time I attempted that distance, I would run every-single-step.
My next attempt was the Bryce Canyon 50K. I figured that If I ran slower at the start, then my legs would not tire as easily, and I would be able to continue my constant running motion toward the finish.
No such luck.
As was the case in the previous race, I came to a point where I could no longer run. My legs gave way, and I was forced to walk. It was that moment, when I was passed my a man, who was not running, but walking.
“You got this,” he said. “Just keep moving forward.”
In my pridefulness, I had forgotten what the real meaning of the race was. It wasn’t about running, but about moving forward toward the finish at the fastest pace I could, and if that meant walking, so be it.
So I walked. I walked as fast as my legs would let me.
Eventually, my legs had enough walking, and were ready to run again.
Walking was not the end-all, but a means to keep me moving forward until they had enough strength to resume running.
I finished that 50K, and have done a couple of them since.
No longer am I discouraged when my run becomes a walk. After all, walking still moves me toward my new goal: to keep moving in constant forward motion toward the finish.
Arianne Brown is a mother of 6, and Southern Utah native. For more writings by her, search “A Mother’s Write” on Facebook. You can contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org, or follow her on Twitter @arimom6.
I don’t know how many times I’ve felt like a failure when I’ve stopped to walk, both in races and in training.
While the goal might still be to run the whole thing, never forget that the moral of the story is to keep moving forward.
Thanks for the reminder, Arianne.
Do You Ever Feel Bad If/When You Stop to Walk During a Training Run or Race?