Dec 22, 2013

My Running Journey!

I wanted to write this post to encourage all of you who are not runners, to become runners.  But, before we start, let's define running.  I am not a fast runner.  You don't have to be a RUNner.  But, you do have to do more than sitting on the couch and walking on a treadmill.  You do need to at least put a little oomph in your step to gain some momentum.  I am a rujoger.  I run when I feel adventurous, but most of time, I'm jogging at a quicker pace than I walk.

I never knew what a quick pace was, but starting this journey with Megan, I didn't really have a chance.  And here is where my journey began...

In December 2012, I told Megan that I wanted to start running with her.  I knew I was nuts and I knew she was a crazy half-marathon runner and she was a die-hard-stick-to-it runner.  But, I went for it.  The first week of January 2013 we met at a local park and I believe it was like 41 degrees outside.  It was cold.  I really thought I had lost my mind.  She said, "I'll just set my time and we will run for 30 minutes."  Okay... easy enough, right?  Wrong.  We ended up doing almost 2.5 miles in that 30 minutes!  HELLO, this was my FIRST time to run!  Megan let me take TWO walking breaks for ONE minute each.  I thought I was going to die.  She even tried carrying on a CONVERSATION?!  Who the heck tries to TALK while RUNNING?  I just smiled and nodded and tried not to die.

After that morning, I began running after school and around my neighborhood on the weekends.  I was hooked.  I was maintaining about a 10:50 minute/mile and had no idea if that was fast or slow.  It was the only pace I had known, which was about the pace Megan had set for me from the beginning.

By Feb. I had signed up for my first 5k scheduled in late March, but then decided that was too far away.  So, I signed myself up for a 10k at the beginning of March.

The last weekend of February, I was in the middle of a great run and stepped off some uneven pavement/curb and twisted my ankle.  I was two weeks out from my 10k and KNEW I was in bad shape.  It swelled and it was UGLY.  I rested it, took a break from running for a week, and braced it.  I knew it was just a sprain and it needed time to rest.

 After two weeks of resting, I was ready for my 10k!  I had my brace on, I was pumped on adrenaline and I DID it!

I cannot even begin to describe the joy, happiness, pride, etc. that I felt.  I had only been running 8 weeks, had hurt my ankle, and had just ran 6 miles.  I felt like I was on top of the world.  I didn't care that 6 miles is an easy, short run for many... I didn't care at all.  I had DONE it!!  I knew from there I was hooked.  I didn't finish first, frankly, I was pretty close to finishing last.  Did I care?  No.  A race is about you.  If you are running a race to be in first place, you probably don't need to be reading this post, haha.  I walked and I jogged.  I walked more than I thought I would, but in the end, it didn't matter to me at all.

Two weeks later, I ran my first 5k and it was a fun glow run.  I loved it and still couldn't get over the adrenaline I felt.  This was the first race I ran where I only walked one time for 1 minute.  The rest of the time I was rujogging. :)

After the 5k, I was still bracing and wrapping my ankle.  I was still having discomfort.  I had pushed through it long enough.  I decided to head to the doctor.  I was sent for an MRI where I learned I had actually fractured my ankle.  There was a small piece of bone that was fractured and my lovely doctor informed me that had I continued to run on it, it would have broken off and I'd been in a cast.  Oops.  So, instead of a cast, I got to ride a lovely scooter for 4 weeks.  I was not to walk on the foot, put pressure on the foot, etc.  Only the scooter.  It was terrible.  At least the kid thought it was fun.

After 4 weeks of the scooter, I had to spend 4 weeks in a walking boot, and THEN I had to do 4 weeks in my brace.  I was still not cleared to run or do any extraneous exercise.  (Read: I didn't exercise at all and became a huge lump.)

At the very end of July (When it is now 103 degrees in Texas) I started running again.  It was extremely slow for what I was used to.  I had always maintained a 10:50-11:50 minute mile and now I was running a 13 minute mile.  Is this unacceptable?  No.  Is it slow?  No.  Was it slow for me?  Yes.  You find your own pace.  Not everyone runs the same nor WANTS to run the same.  Running isn't about speed for me, it is more about distance.  In August I ran a total of 3 times.. yeah, all month.  It was hot and I was NOT feeling it.  But, somewhere in that month, I signed up for another 10k.

I knew I needed to get my mileage back up to par in order to complete the 6 miles again.  I ran a lot in September.  I pushed through the pain and the heat and found that love again.  I found the oomph that started it all in the beginning.

The race ended up only being 5.2 miles because the officer had us turn too soon, nonetheless, it was fun and they offered beer at the end!

By this time, I had done the unimaginable... I signed up for my first half marathon.  Megan and Oliver were going to run with me and I was scared as heck.  From the point forward of that last race, I just added a mile each week.  If someone would have told me a year ago that I would be running a half marathon by the end of the year, I would have laughed in their face.

I am a firm believer in taking pictures all the time.  You never know when one will become your 'before' photo.

I trained and I trained and I trained.  Many of the long runs were done with Megan and Oliver which made them much more bearable.

On November 9, my 30th birthday, I ran a 5k in memory of my grandparents.  They both lost their lives ti cancer and this was the Pancreatic Cancer run.  It was my fastest 5k and I felt like I was on FIRE.  It was so amazing.

Once I started running more than 8 miles at a time, I started using these to help push through.

Three days before the Dallas Half Marathon, a horrible ice storm hit Dallas.  It was still unclear whether or not the race would take place.  Unfortunately, they canceled the race Friday afternoon.  There was ice and slush everywhere.  The race course included the huge white bridge posted below and it was covered in ice.  It was definitely a good call, but crushed so many.

I had made the decision that I WAS going to run a half marathon and I WAS going to do it before 2014.  Megan was now 27 weeks pregnant and it was a do it now or never situation before she stopped running her long distances.  So, last Sunday, it was time.  It wasn't going to be a race, I didn't have a bib number, I wasn't going to be awarded a medal, but by golly, I was going to DO IT.


My sister finished her run before me, so she went to the nearest gas station to grab some toilet paper.  I got to cross a finish line!!!  My name is not listed in history anywhere, my time is not recorded in anyone's logs, but I earned that 13.1 that day!!!  Once again, the pride and the joy is just indescribable. 

I wrote this post to encourage you.  To help YOU get off your couch.  To help YOU realize that this year is YOUR year!  Don't get discouraged, don't think you have to do huge amounts of running or mileage, just get out there.  Get some workout clothes you feel amazing in, get some awesome music, and get out there.  Start walking, then wogging, then bouncing, hopping, skipping, whatever the heck it takes.  You'll be so proud of yourself when you hit that first mile, and then that 3rd, etc.  Sign up for a 5k and stick with it.  Who cares if you finish last... those cones will stay out till you're done!  Just do it!


Samantha Ciaccio said...

So inspirational!! Great job girl!!! ❤️

Samantha Ciaccio said...

So inspirational!! Great job girl!!! ❤️

Christy said...

Congratulations! I ran my first half last weekend. I was slow but I finished. I earned that 13.1 sticker that on my car. Can't wait to see what you accomplish next year.


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