Where do I start?? I think my first memory of running was not a positive one. It was when I was slightly overweight and I knew I wanted to make a change and I just did not know how. I wasn’t friendly with the gym and I knew I didn’t want to embarrass myself by getting on a treadmill and running in front of strangers (and friends too as it was my College gym). So one evening I told my boyfriend at the time that I wanted to go for a run, he looked at me odd but agreed. So we started off, down his block. I have no idea how fast we were going…err…I should say how slow we were going but I think by the 3rd or 4th block I had given up. There was NO WAY I could continue this, so we walked back to his house.
That was probably the first wake up call that I needed to loose some weight, and so the process started a few month later.
Anyway, my next running memory was a positive one! I had lost my goal weight and I had signed up with my office to do the Chase Corporate Challenge. This is a 5K that is put on every year in big cities for companies to encourage their employees to run/exercise. Then afterwards most companies through a post run party. Well my co-worker and I decided we were definitely going to walk it. We were pumped! 3.1 miles, awesome! As we started and we saw all the runners go by we turned to each other and said “do you want to run a bit” and we did. I think we ran about a ½ mile and then would stop to walk a ¼ of a mile and then repeat. Overall I think we finished in 44 minutes. Not shabby for two girls who were wearing JEAN SHORTS!
But I was pumped, it totally pushed out the poor memory I had about the last run I attempted the year prior. So I started getting on the treadmill at the gym, conditioning myself to run a mile without stopping, and I did. Then I met my husband. An athlete all his life. I told him that I wanted to run more and he encouraged me. Encourage me to run longer and faster. So I did. Not sure what the next race was that I signed up for but I was hooked.
After signing up and running 5k’s, I took the challenge and signed up for an 8k, and then a 10k. I found myself running each morning 3 miles, it was a given in my workout.
When we moved to NY in 06 I decided I wanted to train for something more than 6 miles and the next logical step was a ½ Marathon. My girlfriend back home had just finished her first marathon and I was inspired. I looked for a local race and found the Brooklyn Half Marathon. Now of course I couldn’t do this alone so I enlisted my two running pals from back home. Enticed them with a trip to NYC and plus a great run around Brooklyn. The signed up!
Well I trained, I had my training plan and I trained. We lived close to Central Park and that was my mileage map. I remember the first time I ran 9 miles, I felt on top of the world. Well race weekend came and my girlfriends came into town, their flight was delayed and all attempts to have a stress free relaxing night before the race was thrown out the window! Needless to say at 12:30am we made the decision that we were not going to run in the morning… boo.
So I can’t say that was my first ½ marathon considering I never ran it but it did prove to me that I can run, I do have the endurance. So two months later I signed up for the Chicago Marathon, to take place October of that same year.
Now I trained for that marathon alone. Talk about a mental game. But I did it. I got myself up every Saturday morning and did those long runs. I hit those walls solo, I shed those tears of defeat. Well I can’t say I did it solo. My wonderful husband was a great support system. Encouraging me when I needed it. He even rode his bike one day when I had to do a 15 miler in his home town (not knowing the area).
The race came. I won’t go into detail on the day cause you can read about it here. But it was a disappointment. With the heat, the lack of water stations, and finally canceling the race while I was 19 miles into it I felt defeated. All my hard work gone out the window. I did finish though, they couldn’t stop most. My time is not one I am proud of but I finished it and I have the medal to prove it.
So since then I have not signed up for another full marathon even though I do plan on doing one more in the next year or two. But I have done many 5ks, 10ks and a few ½ marathons.
I definitely found myself through running. I love it. It gives me strength when I need it and allows me the time to clear my head when life gets too crazy.
I saw Caitlin from Healthy Tipping Point’s post a few weeks ago of all her race shirts and I was inspired to pull out all of mine. I don’t think I have all of them but the ones I do have have a special place in my heart.
I am a runner.