Thursday, February 5, 2009

My Running Journey....

I thought I'd share about my journey to becomming a runner with you....not real exciting, but writing it down helped me to put in perspective where I've come from, and maybe where I'm going.....

My Running Background

I ran track in junior high, mostly because my friends and cute girls were all on the track team. My event was the 800m and I wasn’t very fast.

In high school the only running I did was around the bases as part of the baseball team. And since I didn’t get on base too much, I didn’t have to run very often.

And then in college I think I ran once or twice, not sure exactly why. Probably bored.

But I remember living with a guy right after college, Richard, who was a runner. He ran most mornings, and I remember seeing him get really fit. He lost a lot of weight and got into great shape. Though I didn't start running at that time, the running seeds were planted.

So years go by, and I'm working on a career, married with kids and overweight.

And it's been more than a decade since I ran.

But I remembered Richard, and how running worked for him to lose weight. Besides, it seemed like all the runners I knew were in great shape. So I took up running. And got hooked. And I lost weight.

But it didn’t happen overnight.

My Running Begins

I still remember the first time I went for a run, for exercise. I couldn't even go down the street and around the corner, which was about two blocks, without stopping to walk and being out of breath. I was way out of shape.

My first 5K was brutal. My body was not even close to being ready to run 3.1 miles. But I had a free entry offered to me through work, so I signed up. I don't remember my time, but I think I walked pretty much half of it, and felt soreness in my legs for a week afterward.

But, much as I would have liked to, I didn't give up. I kept running. My second 5K was much like the first. I wasn't ready, and my body got pounded. But it was at that race that I was first attracted to the whole "runner community" thing. So again, I kept running. And observing. And learning.

I started to really enjoy going for runs. My one mile loop didn’t seem as far or as hard as it did before. I started running further distances. And, I started losing weight. I lost about 30 pounds in a year, largely attributed to eating right and running. I felt better about myself and I had more energy.

Somewhere in there I think I decided that I was a runner. At least I started to think of myself as a runner. I was reading running blogs and running books. I found some great running podcasts. I ran a couple more races, and started to feel like I was a part of the running community now.

My Running Continues

I am still not very fast, but I have discovered that it doesn't really matter anyway. It's all personal. And I am surprised to find myself saying something like “oh, I’m just running 4 miles today,” as if 4 miles is not that far. It just shows how far I’ve come. And I am learning about things like speed work, tempo runs, and GU.

And, I have decided to challenge myself to run farther than I ever have. To run a half marathon. 13.1 miles. I am doing one in the next 3 months (barring injury), and am looking forward to the accomplishment. From there, who knows, maybe a marathon?


Melanie said...

thanks for sharing your journey! Awesome that Richard had such an positive impact on your life... does he know? Congrats on the weight loss, that's amazing. I think i realized i was a runner when i knew the meaning of fartlek!

joyRuN said...

Awesome journey. Great job on not giving up & pushing through - now you're training for the 13.1!!

Lisa Slow-n-Steady said...

Everyone has such neat stories. Thx for sharing.

Best wishes as you train for the half!

Erik said...

Great story and great job!!

I wrote an entry not to long ago about the "I'm just going 4 today". Isn't that crazy.

Keep finishin,


TNTcoach Ken said...

Wow, that sounds so similar to what I went through. You are so right about it being and individualized activity where speed is in the eye of the beholder. Keep up the great work.

Brandi said...

Thanks for sharing! It does feel great to accomplish what you do with running. When I talk about doing 5 miles here or 8 miles there, people just look at me in amazement and when I realize to me that isn't that much, to them it really is and that makes me feel better. I ran my first half marathon in October. Great experience! I was then hooked and immediately started training for a full! Not all folks do that but I felt the need! :D

Mark said...

Great story! Four miles used to seem like a hundred. Good luck on training for the half

Fair Weather Runner said...

I totally relate on 'just 4 miles,' last year during marathon training I remember thinking, at what point did it become reasonable that my 'short' runs are 5 miles?! But it's worth it. OKC here we come!!

TiredMamaRunning said...

It's great to hear how much progress you have already made-and so cool when what was probably an unimaginably long distance to run at one point, four miles, becomes an "easy" run.

aron said...

great story and congrats on everything you have accomplished so far!!

RunToFinish said...

woot woot let's hear it for the Olathe 1/2 you're going to have so much fun with all us goobers there to cheer you on!

It's funny that many of us start running for weight loss and find a whole new meaning in it

jen said...

What a great story you have- and very inspirational. Congratulations on all you have accomplished so far! I have a feeling you are going to get hooked by this upcoming half marathon and become one of us crazy marathoners.. don't even try to resist!! :)

Erik said...

I didn't see your email handy to send your interview questions.

Shoot me an email and I'll send them to you:

soonerbaseball @ gmail *dot* com


Carlee said...

Sounds like you have a lot of heart. Keep it up! And you were right about the song!

Run Mama Run said...

Awesome story! Always great to read good running stories to motivate my runs.

Bootchez said...

Cool story! Like others here, I *totally* am amazed by the 4-mile-thing, and never thought that would be something I would say, either. Good luck on your journey to the half.