The following is a guest post by our very own Kiara Tossona
I am the girl who quit all sports by age 13 because I was clunky and uncoordinated and ran with a limp.
I am the girl who couldn’t run the mile in high school so instead jogged the straights and walked the curves of the track.
I am the girl who when I decided to start running 5 years ago- struggled to get past 2 miles.
Even today I would not say I am an athlete. Some days I am hesitant to even call myself a runner. I admired NP from afar for almost a year before I had the courage to join one cold February morning on the top of Cira Green. I vividly remember the 8-minute burpee burnout…I wondered if I should ever return.
But I did. Time and time again I just showed up. And over the course of my 2+ years at NP I’ve gained friendships, confidence, and hopefully a little muscle definition.
In order to truly enjoy my time at NP I had to learn to stop comparing myself to others and be inspired by them instead.
In fact, I let them inspire me into running a marathon. A marathon was not even a goal I had prior to this past November, but only because it seemed so far-fetched.
But after a slew of tribe members posted about the euphoria they felt crossing the finish line at the Philadelphia Marathon, I realized I wanted that feeling too. So with a 6-month training plan in hand I set out to run the New Jersey Marathon on April, 28th 2019.
Training for a marathon tested my dedication to a goal that I wasn’t even sure was mine to have. But as every “long run” got longer, I started to believe in myself. Every person I told at NP was so excited for me that I began to feel the excitement too. As my distance increased, they offered to run by my side and distract me from the madness that comes with running for hours on end.
On race day I put my nerves aside and trusted my training. I spent 4 hours 48 minutes and 18 seconds running across Northern New Jersey beach towns.
I am now the girl who ran 26.2 miles without stopping.