My friend Kat and I have been running a 5K every month (give or take) since 2011 as one of her New Year's resolutions. This past weekend, I had the privilege of racing with her in her first half marathon, and in a few months she'll run her first full. But if you ask her, she'll still tell you she's not really a runner.
Kat and I are not so different. Sure, I put in all the training miles and manage to consistently better my times. But in the back of my mind, there has always been this thought: "Running is not really my thing." Maybe it's because, growing up, my only experience with running was in gym class, and later as a warm-up to strength training days for swim team. One of my college teammates once made the comment that swimmers make terrible runners, because all our strength is in our upper bodies. This theory fit nicely with my prior experiences with running, and I never really questioned it. Until recently. After a great run leg at Nationals in August and my first sub 7-minute pace 5K this fall (it was unofficial, as the course ran a little over 3.1, but I go with what my Garmin says), I realized I could actually be FAST. My lackluster experience with running in my younger days was probably due to the fact that I would only run for 10-20 minutes at a time; I now know that things get infinitely easier after the first couple miles of a run. Still, the memories of those uncomfortable warm-up runs has left me with an overall icky feeling about running which had been hard to shake.
So for me, 2013 will be the year of the run. The actual training won't be so different. The difference will be in my mind, in reprogramming my internal monologue. And once that pesky brain gets out of the way, who knows how fast I can go.