Contrary to the title this isn’t about my first steps at infancy. To be honest, I don’t even remember my first steps. My mother says she witnessed my first steps, claiming that I walked like a little penguin as a child. But with time and practice, like all living things, I mastered walking.
When I say my first steps I’m referring to my life as a runner. It was the summer of 2010 and I had noticed that I had gained five pounds from working late nights at Disneyland. I had a supervisor position at the time and I would take my lunch late around 9pm, which is an unhealthy time to be eating. I wish I could blame vanity for my reason to start running but no, it was more than that.
I met my first boyfriend when I was 19, at my first job at Target. Of course with all first boyfriends or girlfriends in life, you fall in love. The first three years was smooth sailing and we were very happy together. We were inseparable and we made a lot of happy memories together. But that summer in 2009 he changed. He started arguing with me about random things and he became unreasonable. I really didn’t understand how he had become this person I didn’t recognize anymore. He eventually confessed that he had been using drugs, which explained his erratic behavior.
After that I did everything I could to help him. In my mind I thought if I did all these things for him and showed him how much I cared that he would stop. But he didn’t. I got consumed in this cycle I didn’t know how to get of. I didn’t tell anyone what I was going through. I was a full time college student and I worked full time as a supervisor, sometimes having to work late nights till 2:30am. And my second job was trying to keep him clean. My grades started to drop and I barely passed my classes that semester. My job performance at work was being affected as well, I was constantly worried about if he was ok. It wasn’t easy working at the happiest place on earth when you weren’t happy.
Then one night, after another one of his disappearing acts, I gave up. It was really hard to give up on him after everything we had built together but I just couldn’t stand there watching him destroy his life anymore; and in the process my own. I had been so consumed with his problem that I didn’t realize the effect it was having on me and my own life. I couldn’t do it anymore. So I decided to focus on myself and start doing things I needed to do in my life. I eventually got my grades up at school. My work performance improved and I started spending time with new friends I made at work. I also decided to get healthy and start exercising, little did I know it would be the best decision I ever made for myself.
One night after work, I decided I wanted to start running. My older brother was a runner and he aways talked so positively about it. So that night after work I asked my younger brother to go running with me, for safety reasons, it was around 10pm that night after all. So there we were running down the street in our neighborhood. We ran a few blocks, then back home. We calculated later that it was about a mile and a half. I still remember how I felt when I first ran that night. I got tired easily and had to stop to walk on a few occasions, having to catch my breath. I wasn’t in shape at all. My brother encouraged me to keep going, which helped a little, but my side still hurt.
But I kept running my same route, kept trying, and eventually I completed that mile and a half without stopping. I felt so proud of myself and accomplished. After that I was hooked. I increased my mileage to see how much farther I could run, without stopping. Every time I completed a mileage goal, I created another goal and another. And with every mile I found myself and what I’m truly made of. What started out as a simple mile, turned into miles of great memories and accomplishments that I’ll remember for the rest of my life.