My running story, in short:
I used to run more. Much more.
I haven’t always been a runner. In junior high and high school, I played sports therefore I ran. Distance running was foreign to me. I got used to running for conditioning – wind sprints, running laps around the gym a few times to get warmed up, running up and down the court or field (depending on what season it was), but I’m not sure I’d even heard of a 5K race or any sort of “K” race until after college.
Then, I moved to Denver, Colorado in January of 1999. Everybody and their mother are into some sort of outdoors sport there. It’s a lifestyle. Upon moving there, I quickly tried to find community and what that looked like to me was a group of people who went to church together…and also ran races together.
My fitness was already on the upswing because I had moved far away from my family and I was going to school and didn’t have a ton of friends so I needed an outlet…something to make me feel “normal” or at home out there. So, I was fortunate enough to get added on to my aunt and uncle’s gym membership and, boy, did I use it.
I became very fond of the stair climber and elliptical machine. The treadmill was still not my friend (nor is it currently). I also started to row and use weight machines. I did a little bit of everything. I even bought my first “sport” swimsuit out there!
But back to running. That’s what this is about, right?
So, nearing the end of my stay in Colorado, the group I was in was running in the Boulder Boulder 10K race. One of the guys in the group had sprained his ankle and was offering his entry to anyone who could run it. Me? What? No way. I don’t really run. I was talked into it eventually and so I had a few weeks to train. That’s right, a few weeks. This was obviously not ideal, but my cardio fitness level was good. So, I started running some distance with a friend and I did a few hill workouts. We were running in Boulder, of course!
So, the day of the race came and I ran my first 10K. It was exhilarating! I’m not sure what my time was, but it was decent…and I finished! That’s the day I started racing.
When I moved back to Wilmington, NC, I signed up for 5Ks all that summer. Running in the heat and humidity was WAY different than running in Colorado, but I kept up my running fitness and still went to the gym for cardio and weight workouts.
Over the next few years, my running would take a hit. I was either uninspired or in transition. It wasn’t until 2008 that my running kicked into higher gear. Why? Well, again I found myself in a group of people who were into fitness, but this time they did triathlons! Oh boy.
Of course, I signed up for my first triathlon and so I had to start running consistently (again) and biking and had to learn to swim laps.
And so I did.
So, how did I start to run again? I just started running. I don’t remember specifics, but I’m pretty sure I had to start from the beginning: run a mile (if that far), walk a bit, run some more, walk a bit. Slowly, but surely, I could string 2 miles together, then 3 and so on. I only had to be able to run a 5K in the triathlon so I knew it was an attainable goal. I wouldn’t start running longer distances until Kathryn pressured me into doing a half ironman! I’m so glad she did. It was one of the biggest accomplishments I’ve had in my life.
The thing is: you have to start somewhere. It’s really easy to start the negative self-talk and talk yourself out of a run and it’s much harder to get up off the couch and lace up the shoes. BUT, the feeling of accomplishment for finishing a run (no matter the distance) is far superior to the feeling of finishing that TV show or checking your Facebook status.
This past Sunday, I woke up in DC. I had to get a run in, but I also knew that I would feel tired and unmotivated after a morning of travel. I just kept telling myself I would do it. The weather in Charlotte helped me get motivated to get out of the house later in the day…as did knowing that my training buddy and bff had already gone out for her run! She’s not only encouraging, but motivating too.
I did it. I just set my mind to it and did it.
I am back into running and it really feels good. I’m faster too! (Thank you, H.I.I.T. training!) Now go on, get your running shoes on and take your iPod with a really good mix of music (if that’s your thing). You’ll be better for it.