Six months ago, running any distance for fun was not something you would catch me doing. The last time I had run was during high school, and back then, it wasn’t exactly something I chose to do, but rather a typical compulsory gym class activity. When I began my internship with atlasGO in May of this year, I didn’t have the slightest inkling that would change, even given the nature of the company.
But during my first week, my fellow intern Philés invited me to come out for one of the weekly fun runs, a 4-5 mile run around San Francisco every Tuesday. I agreed that I would come out for the next run since the community is a huge aspect of the company, and I wanted to get involved in any way possible. However, if I am honest, I was still a bit nervous; I wasn’t sure I would be able to run that distance, let alone keep up with the experienced runners who come out each week (runners for whom a 5-mile run was basically a warm-up).
That nervousness persisted all the up through the BART ride into the city that summer Tuesday. But once I started running with the group, all of that anxiety melted away. Being able to run with people who are so passionate not only about running but about doing so for a good cause in such a beautiful city like San Francisco made me begin to wonder why I hadn’t been doing this sooner.
After that day, I couldn’t wait for Tuesday to arrive so I could go back out and run with this amazing group! It was then that I realized I didn’t just want to participate in these casual runs, but I wanted to try my hand at some races. Before I knew it, I was signed up for three 5k races, all happening within three weeks of each other! I even managed to place in the top three runners for women of my age group at the Get Your Rear In Gear Race in July. My final 5k of the summer was at the San Francisco Marathon, and it was there, seeing fellow atlasGO employees and ambassadors running, that I knew I had to push for something bigger.
As my internship came to a close in August, I decided I wanted to run my first half marathon by the end of 2019, so I signed up for the Berkeley Half Marathon. I had just enough time to train and prepare, feeling both excited and nervous to run 13.1 miles. As my weekly mileage began to increase, there were moments (mostly during my long runs) when I would ask myself why exactly I had signed up for this. No one was forcing me to run. But those thoughts never lasted for more than a second since it didn’t take long for me to remember why I began to run in the first place. The power of the atlasGO community is stronger than any tiredness I will ever feel in my legs.
Flash forward a few months, and I was standing at the starting line in downtown Berkeley, just 10 minutes from my apartment. I was so excited; I had my running playlist, the excitement of race morning, and the power of the atlasGO community ready to push me through the longest distance I had ever run. Once I started running, I felt a strength I hadn’t felt before. I knew that no matter what, I would run 13.1 miles that morning, and no matter my time, that was something I would be incredibly proud of myself for. When I crossed the finish line (even after falling 0.5 miles before the finish!) I was filled with joy (although my legs felt like they were filled with lead).
Running that race gave me an even deeper appreciation for running and improving my own running abilities while continuing to support atlasGO in all that it does. Fueled by this newfound passion and desire to do good, I then soon after signed up for my first full marathon, which will be at the Los Angeles Marathon in March 2020. As I begin my training for this next race, I am once again filled with that same rush of excitement and nerves, but I know I can go the extra mile (well, 13.1 extra miles, to be exact) to support a good cause. For this race, I will be supporting the American Cancer Society and all the amazing work they do to help all those affected by cancer. You can check out my personal fundraising page here, and any support is greatly appreciated!
Thank you to my own two feet for pushing me forward in my running journey, and thank you to atlasGO and the team for making it so worthwhile!