Guest Blogger Alisyn Gularte

There I stood, huffing and puffing on the track. My lungs felt like they were on fire. My clothes were drenched in sweat, and I was ready to go home. My best friend Pete ran up behind me. “I’m done!” I snap. Pete looks at me bewildered, and tells me he is going to run one more mile. Shocked by this information I say, “I don’t know how you can run two miles. I can barely run one mile, I will never be able to run as far as you.”

Back then, I hated running. I was in my early twenties, and the idea of running around in circles did not appeal to me at all. I was there simply because I wanted to stay healthy, and Pete was willing to be my workout buddy. Our track adventures did not last long. Fast forward to a few years later, I meet a gal at the gym that I would chat with regularly after Zumba classes. She invited me to run with her and a couple of her friends on that upcoming Saturday. “We are just going to run six miles,” she says.

Six miles I thought. Was she kidding? My mouth dropped to the floor, my eye’s bulged bigger than they ever had before, as I told her, “I will never be able to run six miles! No thanks.”

A few days passed and all week I was confident in my decision until Saturday rolled around. For some reason, I woke up that morning feeling bored and restless. I shocked myself by texting my friend to find out the meet- up location and within the hour I was beginning my six mile run. The girls in the group were all very supportive. They slowed their paces for me, and we chatted. Before I knew it, I had run six miles. I couldn’t believe it. I ran farther than I ever had before, and I was hooked. I joined the gals for group runs after that. My feet were starting to hurt as the gals informed me that I might want to look into investing in some good running shoes. “I will never spend money on running shoes as this running thing is just a phase,” I told them.

A month later, I purchased my first pair of running shoes. That summer was all running but never more than six miles at a time. I registered for my first 10k and told my running buddies; “I will never run more than six miles.” A few months later I ran my first half marathon. Then I ran a few more. And suddenly without warning, I qualified to be a Half Fanatics member. How the heck did this happen?

Being very active, I would also hike locally in my area. While hiking, I saw some runner’s climbing up the hills, I was impressed and said out loud, “Wow! They are hardcore! I could never run trails like that,” That next week I started trail running, loved it, and registered for a few trail races. I was encouraged to sign-up for a few 5k’s. I signed up for fun, as I never expected to age place, or win. The first two 5k’s I participated in, I placed 1st in my age group. The 3rd 5k race I placed 2nd overall.

I never thought in a million years that I would run a marathon! No way, no how! Yet come this March, I will be running my third marathon. I keep saying never will I do this or that – Never. Never. Never. Yet there I am pushing my limits of what I never thought would be possible. I fell madly in love with running, as I never thought I would.

My favorite childhood cartoon movie, American Tale sings –

If you believe that your dreams will come true

They’ll come true in the end.

Keep up your courage, don’t ever despair.

Take heart and then count to ten.

Hope for the best, work for the rest

And never say never again.