Every runner started as a walker.
Lindsey from One Mother Of A Day recently shared her Running Story. It inspired me to share mine. I'm currently trying to get back into running, and during my runs, my mind will drift back over the last fourteen years that I've been running in some form or fashion. I recently dug out old running memorabilia, including bibs and hardware, to help put this little story together.
My high school didn't have a track team, so I didn't think of running as a sport when I was younger. Outside of the marathon event in the Olympics, I didn't think of running as something people did for fun. A year out of college, I had an opportunity to move to Hawaii. While living there, I noticed people were active. Young or old, small or big, everyone was doing something: swimming, surfing, cycling, walking, or running.
Another thing happened: for the first time in my life, I started putting on weight. I somehow had managed to escape the freshmen fifteen in college, but in Hawaii, I was eating all that wonderful Hawaiian food like loco moco (fried egg on top of a hamburger patty and rice, all covered with gravy) or malasadas (Portuguese deep fried donut holes) and even though I was at the beach a lot, and spent my weekends snorkeling, swimming, or just playing football with friends, the weight just kept coming on.
So I tried running. Well, let's say I attempted running. Looking back, I know now, that I would not call what I did running. More like occasional jogging (every other weekend?) With no guidance on how to run, I was running in shoes probably not best for running, and I had no concept of how to build up mileage. It was a short-lived endeavor.
Goodbye Hawaii, Hello California
Fast forward to 2002. I moved back to California, formed a new circle of friends in San Francisco, one of whom was training for a 10K. This time, I had a mentor. He showed me how to buy the right shoes, how to find a training program and stick to it. I even bought a heart rate monitor to help me figure out how easy or hard I was running. I ran two 5K races that year.
In 2005, I met my now husband and he encouraged me to race distances beyond a 5K. My itinerant life had taken me to Southern California, so my races included the Malibu Trail Challenge (a trail run!), the Los Angeles Nike Run Hit Wonder (my first 10K!), and my two half marathons (the San Francisco City Marathon and the Nike Women's Half Marathon -- also in San Francisco).
The Half Marathon is My Distance
After a taste of my first half marathon, I had found the distance that was long enough to keep me challenged (and interested). I ran five half marathons through 2006-2008, including the Carlsbad Half Marathon, which I ran four years straight (2006-2010). I loved that race because it was in mid-January, so it kept me training through the holidays.
Just Run a Marathon Already!
In 2009, my view of running changed forever. My husband and I joined the San Diego Track Club so that we could train with a support group for the San Diego Rock n Roll Marathon. Going in, I was apprehensive about keeping up with the other runners (I'm a "slow" runner, I aim for a 10:30 pace on longer distances) but I quickly made friends, and with over 600 members in the club, I easily found a group of runners who were in my pace group. Those friendships ensured that I showed up to track practice every Tuesday and to the long runs every Saturday. The program ran from January up to race day in early June. Thanks to this training group I...
- Learned how to run double digit distances comfortably
- How to fuel up before, during, and after long runs
- The importance of track workouts
- How to mentally prepare for the "wall"
Running a marathon made running (and training for) a half marathon a piece of cake. In 2009 & 2010, I ran nine half marathons in addition to the San Diego Rock n Roll Marathon in (both years). To this day, those two years are my proudest accomplishments in my running "career" so far.
Baby On Board
In late 2010, I became pregnant, and gradually gave up running during my pregnancy. I didn't attempt to return to running again until late 2012 and then again in the summer of 2013. Both attempts were fairly short lived and I haven't run a race since America's Finest City Half Marathon in August 2010.
That's my running story! It's 2014 and I'm ready to try again to get back to running. In March, I made a commitment to myself to shift my walking to running gradually. I've also set a goal to sign up for a 5K or a 10K before Memorial Day.
What's your running story? If you have a post about how you became a runner, please add it in the comments below; I'd love to read your story.