Thursday, December 29, 2011

I Suck at Running--- or I used to...

Until the recent past I truly believed the title of this post. I thought running was a sport reserved for those far more serious about fitness and athleticism than myself and that I was an excellent WALKER.  My journey to become a runner began in the spring of last year. In March, my husband and I competed in a 5K Obstacle series called "Warrior Dash". I half heartedly went on a couple of runs before our run but failed to properly train and showed up on race day ready to have a great time. We ran the race -- or should I say we ran the first half a mile before I was huffing and puffing and once again declaring how much I sucked at this sport. The race finished and the obstacles broke up the run, but I bet I couldn't even run half of the 5K course. I had a great time-- but it was a terrible run.

When we got home I thought alot about my inability to run a significant distance-- coupled with the fact that I routinely ask over 100 girls to run a mile on a daily basis in my pep squad class that I coach . I talked with some friends at work who were "runners". I listened as they talked about foam rollers and compression socks; watched as one was sidelined by a stress fracture; and promptly decided to run a half marathon in November of 2011.  Keep in mind I was still the girl who couldn't yet run a mile continuously.

As the school year finished out, I started to take jogs a few times a week after school.  It was really starting to get hot which did nothing to increase my stamina.. but eventually I worked up to running half a mile, then .75 miles, and eventually I could acutally run a full mile. When school let out for the summer I decided that I was going to commit to the goal of finishing a half marathon on November 13, 2011 at the San Antonio Rock'N'Roll Marathon.  Eventually, I even got up the nerve to tell others about my plan-- with the caveat in place that it was my goal to finish 13.1 miles-- not necessarily to run all of it.

Over the course of the summer, I signed up for a training race series to complete a 5K, 8K, 10K, and 15K before toeing the start line of the Rock'N'Roll in November. It panned out to basically a race per month.  I even managed to convince a couple of friends to run the relay with me in November. The first two races were insanely HOT, but I was progressively getting better. I still had to walk some and the running was far from easy,but a majority of those first two races were run-- not walked. Each race gave the confidence and mini-milestones I needed to see that I could actually do this. At the 10K I finished in under an hour and for the first time RAN THE WHOLE THING. By October's 15K I was confident that I would be able to conquer the half.

The day of the half, Cory was up before I was and ready to go. We were out the door by 5:20 and on our way downtown. Within the hour, we were downtown and the girls and I were surrounded by 30,000 other people as crazy as we were. I found Hope to wish her luck and ended up lining up in corral #2 with her. Needless to say I felt like a fish out of water, seeing that I was supposed to be lined up in corral 25. As the welcome address rang out I started to get anxious about what exactly it was I was going to do. BANG! The starting gun went off---for the elites---BANG! -- corral # 1. There I stood surrounded by athletes toeing the start line of the longest distance I had ever attempted. The third gun went off and we were off.  The first few miles flew by and when my running app announced that I was under 9 minutes/ mile (lightspeed by my standards), I was pretty excited. At mile 6, I got a side stich and had to walk, but was able to shake it out and keep going. Once I reached mile 8, I felt like I could finish the rest. Sure, I couldn't feel my feet, but was enjoying myself none the less. At mile 8, Allison and Teresa joined me and it was all downhill from there. I had to walk through the water stations, but other than those points, I was running. The last half a mile was up hill, but I didn't care because I had done it!! I finished in 2:03:08 (9:24/mile); nearly 45 minutes under the time I had predicted when I signed up in July. Guess I didn't suck after all.

So the point of this blog is to document the next chapter; vent my frustrations; and celebrate my success. Right now the goal is to run 26.2 miles on April 15 in Dallas at the Big D Marathon. Welcome to the journey--- one mile at a time.