Tuesday, August 18, 2015

A Running Start: The When What Why and How

As you know from my post last week, my daughter just turned 3. What you may not know however is that her birthday has more significance to me than just her age, it means it's been almost three years since I started running. Or at least since I started taking running seriously. I did run track in high school and I've always enjoyed running, or enjoyed the idea of enjoying running, ha! But until three years ago, I would run about once every year or so, seriously.

Bleached aqua Mizuno Wave Rider
I think I was pregnant with Lorelai when I bought my first new pair of running shoes that I actually intended to run in, since high school. I didn't do any real running in them until 6 weeks after she was born. They were Mizuno Wave Riders, I chose them because they were pretty, as many novice runners do. In another signature newbie move, I went all in when I started running and ignored the rest days on the Couch 25K app I was using. Dumb, very dumb. I ended up doing something to my knee, had to take six weeks off, and then got properly fitted at my local running store and bought Brooks Adrenalines (after losing weight from the pregnancy and becoming a more experienced runner, I'm in mostly neutral shoes now).

I can't really pinpoint why I chose to start running, it just appealed to me in several ways. Like I said, I liked the idea of it. It seemed like a good hobby that would benefit my health and help me lose the baby weight. It would give me time to myself and my thoughts. Part of it though was just proving that I could. Plus, all the cool kids were doing it (that's a joke, I had no running friends when I started).

We did it!

Now's the part where I had started writing this post a few days ago and now I can't remember where I was going with this.

When I first started, I used a Couch 25K app on my phone, after testing several, I liked the one by ZenLabs. After over doing it at first, I started again after my knee was better and took the rest days this time around. Like any first time runner, running for 30 seconds straight was tough. Funny how now I can run 30 minutes straight like it's nothing. See beginners, you can get there too! Whatever you're struggling to accomplish with you fitness right now, just think that in a month or two it will seem easy.

By January I was ready to run my first 5k; I picked a small one not far from home. My goal was simply to run the whole thing, but to everyone's surprise, I placed in my age group! Let's back up a second though, saying I placed in my age group is like how I used to tell people I came in second in my heat at a track meet. I followed the bold statement by confessing that I was also last. Yep, there were only three women in my age group at this small 5k. To this day I still feel great about "placing" though, not a lot of people can say that about their first race, and my medal serves to commemorate a big accomplishment for me (this race didn't have finishers medals like some do).

During the race, I did not feel great though. The first mile alone seemed like the longest mile ever. I was so glad to have my husband running with me to encourage me along the way, even though I know I snapped at him a few times. He used to be a much better runner than me, running about 3 miles 5 days of the week, now he can't keep up or go as far as me. By the third mile, I was barely trotting along and wishing I hadn't worn a jacket (I believe it was in the low 40s at the start), but I didn't stop and I didn't walk. At the finish, husband held back and let me cross the line ahead of him.

There was no fancy chip timing at this race, we were handed index cards with a number on them which we wrote our names on and placed in a bin marked with our age groups. I came in 38th place, in a big race that would be a great number, in this one there were nine people behind me, including husband. I didn't know my actual time for the race until much later and I now know that two people finished the 10k before I crossed the 5k finish and they spelled my name wrong in the results. Some run/walkers finished ahead of me, but that still happens to this day (there's something to that run-walk method, it's just not for me).
Check out how little my fans were (no, I did not push a stroller in my first race)

We stayed around the awards because I had a suspicion that the age group pool was very small and getting a medal made the experience much more uplifting. When choosing a first race, there are many reasons to go with a small one, this is just one of them.

So, there you have it, the story of how I got started running.

Whether you've been running for years or are just starting out, what made you chose to run? If you're not running, how can I convince you? :)


5 comments:

  1. One mistake I make from this first race was acting like a guy. When we would play a team (all guys that is) we would say things like, "We going to crush this team" or "Look at that guy over there. What a joke." You know, guy stuff. Well that doesn't translate well for females at times. Before the race I was getting all pumped up and saying stuff like, "Look at that person, you going to total destroy her" basically stuff like that. This was not what Reese was looking for! She just needed me to be by her side and just encouraging her to keep going in order to finish. I figured that out quickly and she ran the whole race. I was very proud of her!

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    1. Yeah, that kind of "encouragement" just put too much pressure on me. Cause what if I didn't "crush" those other runners?

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  2. I just ran my first 5K a couple of weeks ago, and at one point I was getting trounced by a 4-year-old. No, seriously. A toddler. But eventually she tired and (insert evil laugh) I passed her. I came in 11/18 women and 17/25 overall. Most of the hardcore athletes were busy with the triathlon that day.

    I don't know what it is about running, but it's definitely a love/hate relationship/ Every run day I think how I don't want to go and that I should just stay home. I mean... Netflix! But I go anyway, and then I'm in love with being out there, completely under my own power and blowing past all of the stereotypes about 50-year-old women with a spare tire. And as soon as I get back and stop sweating, I want to go again. And the cycle repeats.

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    1. Haha! That is a great story Amy, thanks for sharing. I'm sure you could beat my 4-year-old, kid is super slow, don't know what I'm going to do, lol.

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