Chapter 1, page 2

Don't stop until you reach the blue thing. What is that thing anyways?? Is it supposed to be a Christmas decoration? Are those waves or ribbons?

Before I knew it I was a half block from whatever the blue decoration hanging across North Charles street was. My thighs protested but I pushed a little harder, determined to not stop running until I hit my next mark. I pushed for the blue decoration reminding myself that I would proud no matter what happened. I had gotten up and gone for a run despite the rain. Wasn't that something to be proud of in itself?

As I passed the blue decoration, the light changed and I got caught on a street corner. I pulled my hood back on to fight off a rainy cold November afternoon. I continued in the same fashion until the awning of my apartment building came back into view. I thought of each little goal as having been set by someone else, perhaps Kara or Katy or Kristen.

You can walk again at the black and white striped awning. 
You've got one more block in you. 
Don't quit yet.

I picked up a jog again a block and a half from the navy blue awning of my apartment complex, transforming the awning into a finish line and the iPhone strapped to my arm into a race number complete with tracking chip.

This was only my second ever true run. The first had also been my first road race, a Thanksgiving Day 5K. My sister had carried me through that race, pushing me further and further. That first run had been a ball of conflicting emotions. I loved it but hated it. I wanted to never move again and go running again in an hour. After finishing the race I made the decision to continue running. I spent the next several days collecting tips and learning more about running. I had only recently discovered how much there could be to the sport and I was determined to do this properly.

When I returned to my apartment I slipped out of my jacket and tennis shoes and peeled off my soaking wet socks. I dropped to the floor and did a few stretches before grabbing some grapes from the fridge, an apple from the tray on the table and my water glass. A few minutes later I recovered enough for the run to sink in. I had gone 2.79 miles in just under 39 minutes instead of the 1 mile I believed I had gone. I had estimated my time to be around 30 minutes so discovering that my distance was more than double what I believed it to be was a wonderful feeling. Yes I would do this again. Tomorrow I would hit the gym instead. But Thursday I would run again. And I would keep running. Now nothing would stop me. Not the voice telling me I couldn't, not the soar feeling in my thighs, not the fact that I still had a lot of room for improvement. No, nothing could stop me now.

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