On Sunday I completed my third half-marathon. As I was training for my first half-marathon last year, I remember thinking, “This will probably be my first and only half-marathon.” I couldn’t imagine why I would ever want to put my body through all of that pain more than once in my life. But after just having completed my third, and with my eyes set on the 2014 NYC full, 26.2 mile marathon, now there’s no way anyone could ever stop me from racing. Again and again and again.

You might think that you hate running. You might think, “Gosh, I could just never do that. 13.1 miles, no way.” But let me tell you something, you’re wrong. Because I used to think all of those things, and look at how far I’ve come. A lover of the sport I used to loathe with a newly formed addiction to racing, especially long distances.

You think that you’d hate it, but after all of the training, all of the weekend long runs, and after you finally cross the finish line, all of a sudden you fall in love. With the race, with the runner’s high, with every mile that you just pushed yourself through, and the satisfaction in knowing that if you wanted to, you could do it all over again. And again and again.

I signed up for this race on a whim. The last half-marathon that I ran was back in September in the Hamptons, and I literally just couldn’t wait to finally run my next. The best part of this race was that I could tell as an endurance runner, I’m growing and getting stronger. My first and second half-marathons, I remember the last three miles being the most grueling. They were a real struggle that challenged my mind more than anything else.

But this time, I scratched one of those “struggle miles” off. This time, mile 11 felt pretty OK. I won’t say it was a synch, because yeah, I had ten miles behind me at that point, but it felt good. It was only miles 12 and 13 that I really had to coach myself through. “You can do this. You’re almost there. You’ve done this before and you’ll do it again right now.” It was only the last two miles where my body began to fight my mind. My quads and calves begging me to stop, but my willpower yelling at them to shut the heck up!

It’s amazing to see and feel my strength and endurance growing. The first half-marathon I ran I also signed up for on a whim. A few other trainers at the gym I had been working at at the time convinced me to run with them. I said OK for the heck of it. At that point, I don’t think I really even considered myself a runner. So it really amazes me that all of this, has grown from that one decision to run that one race. And it makes me so thankful that I did it.

And in wake of the events that occurred in Boston yesterday, it makes me proud to be part of a community that is made up of the most resilient and enduring athletes I’ve ever known.

Example A: One of my favorite bloggers, Ella, has put forth her kind runner heart and organized a worldwide run to raise funds for the American Red Cross and all those effected by the unfortunate and tragic events that occurred in Boston yesterday. I encourage you all to head over to the event’s Facebook page and click “Join” to dedicate your heart and feet to the cause. If you have anything to spare, click over to crowdrise.com/loveyouBoston to make a donation to the American Red Cross. I encourage you all to share this with as many people as you can, and I especially encourage you to get out and run on Saturday. Whoever you are, wherever you are, just run.

Ella and I will be running in Central Park on Saturday and we invite all New Yorkers to join us. I will post more information on the Hungry Runner Facebook page as Saturday draws closer.

And to learn about more ways that you can help click here and here.

xx Katie