I Can Only Run 1 Block

“The miracle isn’t that I finished. The miracle is that I had the courage to start.” – John Bingham

This is one of my favorite running quotes. It fits me perfectly. Sure, I’ve finished a marathon and I have a downright cool medal to prove it. But, the most amazing part of my journey is that I started and then possibly even more amazing is that I continued. 

I wasn’t a runner. I played sports in high school and I had endurance back then, but 18 was quite a while ago so when I decided to start running I set my first goal really low. I wanted to run 1 block. That’s it. That’s what I told my husband I was going to do as I headed out the door. His immediate response was, “Do 2 blocks. You can do 2 blocks.” 

I snapped back at him, “No I can only do 1 block” and with that I closed the door behind me. As I started my run I thought in my head, “I’ll show him. I’ll finish 2 blocks.” I continued muttering to myself about 2 blocks as I ran along, getting more and more tired until I could feel my chest ready to explode and the bile burning in my throat. 

Still I heard that, “Do 2 blocks” in my head and I was going to “show him”. I wasn’t going to quit. I very slowly dragged my rather upset with me body around those 2 blocks and made it back to my house. I promptly bent over and dry heaved. I felt awful!! 

Eventually I managed to walk the 20 feet to my door, opened it, looked my husband in the face and said, “I told you I could only run 1 block.”  In retrospect that last comment is so dog gone funny. I had just finished 2 blocks, but still insisted that I could only run 1 block. Somehow I’d thought I was proving him wrong or something, but all I’d done was prove him 100% correct. I had actually run 2 blocks. 

It took me all day to recover from that run, but I did in fact recover and the next day I ran 3 blocks. 

The day I lined up on the starting line to run a marathon I knew I could run 2 blocks and I was hoping to enjoy running and finishing one of the biggest races in the world. Thank God I started! 

How did you start running? Why do you keep running?

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6 Responses to I Can Only Run 1 Block

  1. Jordan Trump says:

    Okay you actually made me laugh out loud at the part when you got back to the house :)

    I started running when I was little… very little… because it was fun. I became a distance runner within a day because I hated sprint drills. I keep running because I need it in my life AND I love it!

    • Karen says:

      Thanks! At the time I wasn’t laughing, but now I laugh about it all the time. Everyone has to start somewhere. :)

  2. Margreet says:

    Hi Karen,

    Great post, for many reasons! I love stories about how people began running. Determination is obviously part of your make-up!

    The run that I consider, in hindsight, my official start was the opposite to yours; I set out with the lofty goal to run a lap in a nearby park.

    However, by the time I’d covered the five minutes or so it took to get to the park’s entrance, I was done, turned around and headed home (can’t remember if I ran or walked on the way back).

    I did try again though, and eventually managed to do a lap, then 2 etc.

    One book I just came across is Alberto Salazar’s Guide to Running, a fantastic book for budding and / or novice runners. He advocates a one-year program to build up to 20 minutes of running, starting out with six-minute workouts.

    Here’s a short post I wrote about it on my blog

    Happy running,

  3. Jeannie says:

    I used to throw little jogs in here and there when taking my boys for a walk with the jogger just to get my HR up more. I did a lot of exercise and aerobics so risk walking wasn’t challenging enough for me. But then, I decided to start actually running more in order to improve my speed, endurance , and stamina for playing soccer. I have played co-rec soccer for years but felt I was always slow and didn’t quite have the stamina I needed to play well. My soccer playing definitely improved since I began running more regularly. But to challenge myself more and satisfy my competitive side, I started signing up for races.

    • Karen says:

      Thanks Jeannie! Keep up all your activities. I have a feeling you’re quite a force to reckon with!