I found out last week that my running contract is over and will not be renewed. I would like to thank Skechers Performance for the support over the last two years. That contract gave me validation straight out of college when I felt like I needed it, and for this I am very grateful. That contract made me feel like it was ok to call myself a professional runner, and made it feel ok to pursue running.
The past two years have given me a lot of perspective into this strange world of professional running, sponsorship, pacing, etc. When I first graduated, I had a tough time convincing myself to forego a “real job” in lieu of a substantially less lucrative running career. However, I knew that I felt a certain passion for running that I did not feel for either of my majors, so I decided that I would give running at least a year. The shelf life of a running career is far shorter than that of a different trajectory, and I didn’t want to regret not trying.
I’m so glad I chose to run. I felt like I had not nearly tapped into my potential in college, and I wanted to make sure that I did get a chance to perform near my physical limits. For a myriad of reasons, this hunch appears to be basically correct, and I experienced a number of successes. I’ve run much faster as a post-collegiate, and I’m happier with my performances. I still don’t think I’ve reached my limits.
At the ripe old age of 24, I feel more committed to this trajectory now than I ever have, and I’m going to continue running. While my contract gave me validation and the courage to pursue running, I’ve managed to find a training and support system that will sustain me now, contract or not. I’ll admit that rejection stings in any form, but throughout this process I’ve learned to choose myself, and I’m not quite done yet.