Before You Click “Register,” Read This

Those of us who desire to run spring races are very close to making “the decision.” Most spring races at least in this part of the country) take place in late April/early May. By now, many of us have done the legwork: We’ve looked at the course. We’ve scouted hotels, kids activities, and restaurants. We’ve checked the typical weather patterns.

And now, it’s time to take a deep breath and click “register.” Hang on, though – because there’s a few cautionary things you should know before you make it official.

This race will change you in ways you didn’t anticipate.  You will become a different person over the course of those miles. You will never be the same person you were at the start line; I can promise you that. Whether you’re registering for your first or fiftieth race, know that each race will change you.

Those miles will test your limits. They will instill in you the value of hard work in ways that parents, teachers, and employers have yet to be able. At one point, those miles will be your best friend and coax you to be a gentle person. In the next, they will become your enemy and you will feel betrayed and angry.

But in the end, you will have made it – and you will be a renewed person that you haven’t met before. One that is humble. One that is resilient. One who is proud, but who is already thinking of how to improve herself.

Each time you cross a finish line, you embody who you were meant to be just a little bit more, and this is something only running can give you.

This race will be both your confusion and confirmation. You will question why you are running. You will question why you thought you were capable of such a journey. You will question why you have any business being out on the course with so many others passing by as you struggle to put one foot in front of the other. You will sulk in the confusion of, “why am I here?”

And suddenly, you will feel the rush of confirmation that so many of us feel during the toughest points in road racing: I am here because I am meant to be here. I am here because I don’t give up. I am here because I wanted to take a chance on me.

In the same breath that you exhale and feel tears well-up in your eyes, you will inhale and understand that your purpose is to be in the moment, in the race, with no regrets. You aren’t there by coincidence or logistics – you are there because you are carrying out your purpose.

This race may teach you how to handle adversity, so be prepared. Running is the epitome of “fall down seven times, stand up eight.” You are running to inspire yourself, and you are running to inspire others – even if that wasn’t your plan. Part of inspiration is handling adversity, and this race may teach you that lesson.

You may be in a position to say, “all systems go.” The perfect, injury free training cycle. The gear that you can trust. The nutrition and hydration that you can stomach. Believe it or not – that doesn’t guarantee much. There are no guarantees when you step out from the start line.

This race may teach you that you shouldn’t always value finishing as the one and only success – but that true success is the effort that you put forth and your ability to say “screw this” and register for the next race.

Running can be insecure. It sometimes likes to play the game of, “let’s see how much you really love me.”

Don’t be defeated. Just keep going.


With just about 8 weeks to train, it’s time to get moving! When you register for the DICK’S Sporting Goods Pittsburgh Marathon or Half Marathon using code POULLASDSGPM19, you’ll receive a FREE custom training plan from me! As an RRCA certified coach, I will provide you with a custom schedule, custom paces, and help you reach your goal. 

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