Friday, September 9, 2011

Introduction to Me and Why I Run

Back in grade school, I definitely WAS NOT a runner. In fact, I hated it. Remember "Mile Run Day" in school? I dreaded those and basically was crying for my mom after the first 200 meters. A friend and I cheated one year (we held up 4 fingers to signify that we were done despite having 1 more lap to go) and still got a 9:30 something. I felt super guilty (of course), but there was really no way in hell I was going out there for ANOTHER lap.

I joined track on a whim in 8th grade - I really have NO IDEA what motivated me to do this. But, I vaguely remember running with the team (dying and being at the very back of the pack of course) and skipping out on meets because I was too scared to participate. I didn't want to show up, get dead last and get the customary clap (for the slow ones) and such.
So, I avoided meets. Toward the end of the season, my coach noticed me going over the hurdles and though I had some possible skill/potential to be a decent hurdler. He told me join the track team in high school and compete in the hurdles. So, I did.

I ran track all four years in high school and was a hurdler (100 meters and 300 meters) and also ran the 800, 4X800 relay, 1 mile and 2 mile. I mostly did hurdles and 4X800 relay. For some reason, my coaches thought I'd like running the 1 and 2 mile races because I did cross country from sophomore year to senior year. Little did they know!

Oh, and why did I run cross country? Well, for a stupid, silly reason really. This boy I liked was going to do it and he knew that I had been running that summer (probably a mile daily) and encouraged me to do it. A girlfriend of mine said she'd run too so I was like, "OK." It was either run cross country or swim and I didn't want to get wet. So, cross country it was. The funny thing was that she never actually ran cross country and he didn't run it until junior year. So yep, I followed through and did it.

Anyway, my track and cross country season could be summed up with this: "fell short of potential". As far as the running itself, I liked it. I mean, why would I have continued to show up year after year if I didn't?? I just didn't like being pushed passed what I thought my body's limits were (aka - I didn't really want to get better). I liked the physical and health benefits. Also, I enjoyed the social aspect of being on the team. I mean, wh doesn't like hanging out with a bunch of cool girls and going to PASTA PARTIES?

However, mentally, I was a mess. In cross country, if I'd get passed, I'd get demoralized and instead of try to catch up, I just let myself fall further and further behind. As for track, it was the same. My issue with the 800 was that I would blast it out the gate for the first 600 and suffer in the last 200 (and get passed by tons of girls) because I had no gas left in the tank.

But, I'm not a quitter. I'll stick it out. It's what I did in high school. I didn't really like band (was proudly a third chair clarinet my senior year), hated French and yearned to take psychology or sociology instead, but took AP French anyway, which was a waste since I didn't even get college credit for it. I powered through and stuck it out with cross country and track as well.

In college, I was really good about working out for the first 3 years or so of college. I would run on the treadmill at the gym pretty much daily or every other day. I also ran with the running club (again because a boy I liked ran with them as well) during my freshman year of school. I didn't do any races since I was way too scared from running meets in cross country to consider running a 5K or anything like that. Again, I ran more to keep my weight down and stay in shape.

I didn't really start getting back into running until July 2009. I'd start up and I'd be really good about it for a while, but then I'd fade, burn out and stop it for a while. I never had the motivation to train in the winter. I'd never run outside and most certainly, did not have a gym membership. I ran when I felt like it and stopped when I didn't. I didn't really have any running goals in mind either - I'd do a few miles here and there - going no more than 5, but slowly pushing myself to 7, but no more than that.

But, finally, in July 2009, I made a committment to running and have been running consistenly ever since (save for a freak health thing - more on that shortly). From June 2007 to January 2010, I worked in a bad job. I hated it with ever ounce of my being. I hated going to work, I didn't respect my managers, I didn't like my company's philosopy and core values and I hated catering to the customers. It got to the point where I was angry with everyone in my life and taking out my work stress on them. I started having serious road rages issues and even got into an accident in part because I was speeding trying to get to work on time. I started seeing someone to talk about my issues. I told her that I was thinking about getting back into running and she encouraged it.

I really had to work hard to build up my stamina and strength, but eventually, I was able to get back into it. I'd run 5 miles daily as a way to burn off the stress from work and take my anger out on the run instead of on my friends and family. I even ran thoughout the whole entire winter!! Running was my savior and my stress relief and I was truly glad to have found my way back to it and was beginning to really love it.

My dad convinced me to sign up for our town's local 5k, which is held in April. I was really debating on it and wasn't sure. You know... my fear of races, being last, etc. etc. But, I decided to give it a shot and go for it. I'd be happy wtih a sub 8 minute mile and was hoping to just run under 24. I shocked the hell out of myself and ran a 22:46 (my current PR) and finishing as the 1st woman. I got a medal and a pretty trophy for my efforts. In May, I did another local 5K and also was the top woman to finish with a 24:24 (it was hotter than hell that day). And so yep... that started races.

In 2010, I ran 8 total races - 3 5Ks, 4 10Ks and 1 half marathon. I had a few more planned, but then got INJURED in October. I had some knee/ITB pain, whcih was one thing, but then in November, I was diagnosed with a blood clot (!) in my right calf. I had to take 4 months off running, which really bummed me out. I had to go to PT and slowly build everything back up again.

So far in 2011, I've run 2 5Ks, 2 10Ks and 2 half marathons. This year, I've hit some time goals, which were to run a 10K sub 50 minutes (49:33!) and break 2 hours in the half (1:53:32 and 1:57:25). Surprisingly, in 2011, I've run faster. My 2 10K times were better than my times last year. My half time has been dropped significantly from my disappointing 2:05:10 in October 2010. I've got 6 more races planned for the season (2 5Ks, 2 10Ks, and 2 half marathons). I'm closing out the season with a trip to Big Sur, California to run a half marathon. My family lives in Salinas, which is super close by and I am going to spend Thanksgiving with them. I'm super excited about it.


5K: PR, but I wouldn't say that I'm a 5K runner so simply running sub 8 minute miles would suffice for this.
10k: To consistently run sub 50, which would be sub 8 minute miles.
Half: Sub 1:50:59, which is doable since I'm at a 1:53:32 already. I can hit that with a ltitle bit more work.