Running and I got together about 4 years ago–just after I graduated from college. I was holding on to some extra pounds from college-style eating and to be honest, was just too cheap to join a gym! Plus, I’d always viewed runners as people who were just straight up morally superior to me. They always seemed so disciplined and it didn’t hurt that they always looked so great! So anyway, I ran a slightly hilly loop around my post-college apartment that was probably around 3 miles about 3-4 times per week. At first, I didn’t really enjoy it but then I began to be really, really proud of myself and my consistency. Still, I was deathly afraid of the Shin Splint Monster and had it in my head that if I ran 2 days in a row, I’d get injured.
So, I went on like this for about 2, 2.5 years and gradually increased to 4 miles for a few of my runs. Eventually, my friend talked me into running a 10k that benefited her free medical clinic, and when I didn’t die, get injured or pass out it was a major milestone. So, I ran another. And then, I got it in my head to run a half marathon. Everyone in Sacramento seemed to be wearing shirts from the Shamrock’n Half Marathon so in December ’06 I decided that March 2007 I had a date with the half marathon. Looking back, the way I trained for it was kind of silly and pretty amateur hour, but it worked. I finished and to this day it is the race performance that I am the most proud of. Back then I was slower and heavier and running 13 miles seemed so daunting!! It was the perfect day and I had a great time.
After I ran the half marathon I figured that I was ready to tackle a full. And so, I ran the California International Marathon in December of 2007. I trained alone with an assist from a friend of mine who is a kick ass 2:29 marathoner and finished. I learned a lot, but most importantly I had a great time and loved all the attention and love I got from people for finishing. Running through that finish line and seeing my whole family is something that I’ll never forget. I don’t think I can overemphasize how much finishing that race changed me. Nothing magical happened when I crossed the finish line, but I’ve definitely noticed since then that the way I tackle challenges both physically and mentally is completely different.
Since then I’ve been bitten with the Boston Bug and become totally obsessed with BQing this year. I’ve taken 45 minutes of my initial half marathon time, roughly 10 minutes off of my 5k and I think a 3:40 is within reach. The biggest difference, though, is that I now see myself as an athlete. I train, I don’t just work out. When I eat it is often “what will this do to my long run? how will the fuel feel?” Rather than, “mmmm, chocolate…” and I have a whole new sense of self-confidence because I know that if I work hard, I can acheive my goals (please remind me of this when marathon training becaues I envision a lot of freaking out).
My favorites list:
Shoes: Haven’t found “my” shoe yet, but loving my Mizunos
Gear: Nike Tempo shorts (literally have 9 pair and do not wear anything else, even in the dead of winter), long sports bra tops… but honestly, I am in love with everything Nike. It just fits me.
Gels: Mint chocolate Gu although I rarely take gels (which is bad. fueling on long runs is important. do not follow this example)
Sports Drink: Ew. NO thanks. Water, please.
Pre-run meal: Oatmeal with soymilk, brown sugar and a mountain of cinnammon, 1.5 cups of coffee
Post-run meal: Whole wheat waffles with peanut butter. Or, a latte. Mmmm, coffee.
Watch: Garmin 205 and my crap stopwatch from Target (for the track and easy days)
Training System: Jack Daniels Running Formula
Race Distance: I have a love affair with the 5k, a strong hatred for the 10k, a love-hate with the half marathon and a small obsession with the marathon
Race: Shamrock’n Half Marathon, CIM, Susan B Anthony 5k
I’m a more recent convert to the cult of running. And if you read on, you’ll see why I think Amy and I are the Goofus and Gallant of running bloggers.
Besides the times in school when I was forced to run a mile, I don’t think I ever ran a mile of my own volition until this past summer (2008) because I finally decided to dust off the Nike+ that I got for my birthday earlier in the year. I’ve always hated running, but been attracted to it because it was something that did not come naturally to me. Because I’m a running-challenged person (and generally undisciplined—ahem!), I’ve found that the demands of running make it more gratifying than any other kind of “workout” I’ve tried.
In September 2008, a friend got me to join her for a 3-mile (not a 5K—odd, I know) race, and after not finishing last, I was convinced I could be a runner, albeit a slow one, if I applied myself to some plan.* So I started the Couch to 5K plan, and I ran my first 5K in November. If you have any questions about how I got started, please let Amy know as I told her about every. little. gain. that I made that fall.
So right now, I’m in base-training mode. I’m trying to build up my mileage, but not doing any speed workouts yet. But I do love to join races because they’re always fun and I love the t-shirts! …even the cotton ones, by God.
* Ok, that’s not entirely true. The first thing I said to my friend after the race was, “I don’t think I’ll ever do this again,” but after thinking about it I said, “Well, I guess it wasn’t so bad. Maybe another one’ll be ok…”**
** Pardon the footnotes and footnotes on footnotes; I’m in grad school.
My favorites list:
Shoes: My new Newtons!
Gear: [iPod] Shuffle-upagus
Sports Drink: Gatorade Frost super diluted (I mix it up m’self)
Pre-run meal: Banana and/or toast
Post-run meal: Eggs on Ezekiel bread or greek yogurt
Watch: My one and only fitnessy watch so far, the Nike Imara
Training Plan: “Half-Marathon To Finish” from Jeff Galloway’s Book on Running
Race Distance: Tbd. I’ve only run 5Ks and ran/walked the Nike Human Race 10k.
Race: Also tbd… Though I’m going to take a guess and say that the Rock ‘n’ Roll Half in Chicago will be my favorite race this year…