I Couldn’t Run A Mile In Elementary School, Now I’m Training For A Marathon

I’ll give you two seconds to read that headline again. 

If you would’ve told high school Lily that she would agree to run the New York City marathon, she would’ve laughed and laughed and laughed some more.

To say I’ve never been a runner is a huge understatement. I was that kid who couldn’t run the mile in middle school P.E. Whether it was lack of physical or mental strength is still up for debate, but just wasn’t happening. Hard no. HARD no, y’all.

Fast forward a bit to my college years. A battle with body positivity and under-eating later, paired with stress from the high GPA I needed to keep caused me to shed a 15 to 20 pounds.

This thrilled me more than it should have, but that is a different discussion for a different day.

My senior year of college was a circus. A literal madhouse. As the Editor in Chief for both of my university’s editorial teams, the President of the Communications Honor Society, an avid basketball junkie, and a straight-A student, I was swamped. It came down to a choice: lose my mind or find an outlet.

So I hit the gym. It started as an evening relaxing ritual, quickly escalating into a must in my life. I could be found in the Lopes Recreation Center between 9 and 10 p.m. on my weeknights, often weekends as well. I finally got it — those good endorphins they tell you about. Elle Woods, man, she really knew her stuff.

This newfound love of fitness continued after college, as I became a fitness coach for the local gym. While I was only at that job for five months, I am so grateful I was able to affirm my passion for this outlet in my life. Who knew, that my uncoordinated self would become a gym fanatic?

All of this being said, going to the gym did not instantly mean running.

I was a spin class enthusiast, a water aerobics instructor, and a stair stepper addict. But running—often viewed as the simplest act of exercise—was still something I steered clear of. It was new. It was scary. It had always been a bit of a punishment (honestly, suicides, anyone?).

But I’m in this phase of life where I’m saying “sure, what the heck, let’s do it” more often. Because we should try things that push us.

So when my friend Marguerite asked me if I’d run the New York City marathon with her, I said yes.

Then panicked.

But then put my nose in the air, struck a power pose, and decided I was going to do it. 

Oh, here’s something you should know: Normal humans have to qualify for the NYC marathon. You can’t just sign up, it’s a big deal, so you must earn it. Obviously, I haven’t done that yet. To be fair, neither has Marg. So we found the loophole—apply to run through a charity that has a designated amount of spots.

That being said, I am representing the Brooklyn Kindergarten Society

This organization provides awesome kickstart opportunities for children from low-income families in Crown Heights, Brownsville, and Bed-Stuy. I live in Bed-Stuy, so I am so excited to be running for kiddos that live next door to me. I credit a large portion of who I am to the education I received. I want little ones in Brooklyn to have the same opportunity.

I need to raise $2620 — help a sister out, do it for the kids (literally). This number is non-negotiable. It absolutely must be met by November 4th, Marathon Sunday! Please give what you are able, anything helps!

While I'm not saying you have to run a marathon, raise a huge sum of money, or completely throw caution to the wind, you should do things that scare you. Push yourself out of your comfort zone. Set a massive goal. Know that you don't have to be first, but you do have to show up. Take the victories, one mile at a time. 



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