Several months ago I started running for fun. It was very difficult for me at first, but just like anything in life, the more you do it, the easier it becomes. I ran my first race back in July and posted a story sharing my experience. I swore right after I finished the race that I'd never do it again but within a few short days I was somehow lacing up my tennis shoes and hitting the pavement again. 

When I decided to share my honest take on the emotions that are involved with running, I had no idea what I'd be in for— I received so much support and feedback from friends, family and the SHAPE community. It's clear to me now that this is something worth sticking to. I am inspired to write on the subject again given that my one of my good girlfriends, Joanna, just ran her very first race this past weekend, the New York Road Runner 4-mile race in Central Park. She experienced similar emotions that we all have during our first race. As for me, I don't have plans for another race in the foreseeable future, but I know it's something I'll do again.

Below are the words of inspiration from you that you shared with me after my first race in response to the questions, "Do you remember the first race you ever ran? How did you feel?" I wanted to share them with everyone because I found them so motivating! Thanks for telling us how running has played a positive role in each of your lives through various life stages.

Celebrating a Birthday

Daisi Valentin: Yes, it was last year and I ran it for my 27th birthday! I was excited and glad I was running, but toward the end of my half-marathon, I about lost it and wanted so much to walk, but when I knew the finish line was near, I kept on going! So my first race ever was a half marathon! It's still hard to believe I did it since I was a person who hated running for most of my life.

Becoming a Mother

Jane Bais-Cummings: "US Air Force PT but the most memorable was doing my first race after I had my first child. I felt even stronger than when I was an 18-year-old."

First-time Runner!

 

Kirsten Cannon: "I'm running my first race on October 1st!"

Change of Lifestyle

 

 

Elaine Cabello: "I completed a half marathon in April. I cried as I crossed the finish line. Three years ago, all I did was party, and now I am healthy and strong."

 

 

Weight Loss

Melissa Morford Penner: "I will always remember the 1st 5k ran (every step). Tears were running down my face as I crossed the finish line. I was so grateful for my restored health, as I had slowly shed 50 lbs. I immediately called my sister (trainer, cheerleader and bff who was 1,000 miles away) to share my joy and accomplishment. I've since lost 65 more pounds, and sometimes I still get overwhelmed with emotions when I reflect on this journey to a healthier me. Month 33 is underway, and now I get it: Fitness is a lifetime of wellness, not a diet or short term goal."

Inspired Entrepreneur 

The Workout Girl: "The first race I ever ran was a half marathon about 1 year ago. After the race was finished, I had the drive to continue to maintain my level of fitness. And hence,The Workout Girl was born! All thanks to that first race!"

And finally, I'll leave you with a note from my good friend Todd. This isn't just to me, it's to all of the runners out there:

Todd Richards: "Keep running!  You have already gotten past the hardest part. Most people start running in an attempt to lose weight or some fat somewhere. A small portion of those people are able to see it as something other than just a weight-loss tool. An even smaller group figure out that there is something very powerful about running. The feelings of anxious tension, peace, exhilaration, and euphoria are all real and all very good for you to feel. I would tell you that the more you run, the more you will learn to appreciate and crave the feelings it provides...but you already know it!"

Signing Off Still Running,
Renee

Renee Woodruff blogs about travel, food and living life to the fullest on Shape.com. Follow her on Twitter or see what she's up to on Facebook!

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