To the Editor:

I am not a runner. I have never been a runner. And, it is very unlikely I will ever be a runner. So, you can imagine the look on my face when a couple summers ago my sister suggested we run a new race in Iowa called Warrior Dash.

Warrior Dash, which is not a dash at all but instead a three in a half mile run, was the first race I had thought about competing in since high school. It was a race full of obstacles in which anyone actually capable of completing the race was deemed a warrior. So, I figured, it only seemed logical that if I were going to run the race of a warrior, I needed to train like a warrior.

This included closely monitoring my food and beverage intake, something that put quite a damper on my coffee addiction. But regardless of any minor lifestyle alterations, what makes the sport of running particularly difficult to master is that it is one hundred percent completely mental. Running is looking adversity straight in the eye and saying, "Bring it on." It is an important life lesson to be sure but not one that is necessarily easy on vital body parts. Throughout my training, I learned that there are specific signs to indicate whether or not I was overcoming this adversity and running to my full capacity. If the electronic run keeper complained that my pace was only about average, I was not running fast enough. If, after I completed my designated miles, I felt as though I could continue running more, I was not running fast enough. And, if my abs were not killing me, I was not out of breath, and I could still feel my legs beneath me, I was not running fast enough. Basically, if I did not feel like I was going to absolutely die, I was not running fast enough. Now, that is a mindset only a warrior could possess.

Luckily for me, the central Iowa region contains some of the best trails designed to take my mind off these challenges I had to overcome. Whether running from Waukee to Adel, throughout Grey’s Lake, or my sister’s favorite, Saylorville Lake, I never wanted for a scenic route.

It took over two months and over 120 accumulated miles to train for my first big run of my adult career. And, after two months and 120 miles, there is only one thing I can say for sure. I am still not a runner. But I am one step closer to beating the impossible…a marathon. For now, I am just focused on learning how to take it like a warrior.

T.K. West

Dallas Center