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.

COLLEGE RUNNING:
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.

POST COLLEGE:
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.

RACING:
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.

2010:
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.

2011:
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.

GOALS/BUCKET LIST:

TIME GOALS:
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.

RACE GOALS:

CHICAGO MARATHON 2012. GO BIG OR GO HOME.