I’m a lifelong runner, recently evolved into a fitness nut.
When I was six I started going to the local summer track club. My sister was already a part of it, and I think my mom saw it as an opportunity to get rid of me for an hour and a half AND wear me out at the same time. The first practice, for some reason, I got stuck with the sprinting group (probably because I was six and didn’t look like a distance runner). We started practice with a lot of sprint related drills to warm up. Being extremely uncoordinated, I was horrible at this, and I hated it.
The next day I decided there was no way I was going to practice with the sprinters again. Thus, a distance runner was born. The distance coaches weren’t quite sure I was ready for it, but I assured them I was. There was NO way I was going back to doing sprint drills.
Somehow I survived those distance runs. And on top of that, I had fun! The distance runners got to go places, talk while they ran, and play games. Why would anyone NOT want to be a distance runner?!
I started going to the Tuesday night summer park runs. It was here that I got the urge to run farther and faster. Even though it wasn’t really a competitive event, I loved going out there and pushing myself. Well, in six year old terms, pushing yourself means going all out until you die and realize you still have 3/4 of a mile left. Anyways, after doing the mile a few times, I felt I was ready to move up to the three mile race. I ran the three mile race, and surprisingly, it wasn’t that bad! In fact, I thought it was so easy, I’d try the six mile race the next week. My dad was not quite sure I could handle a six mile run. So on Sunday, two days before the park run, we went to the park and I ran six miles with him following me in the van. At six years old, I could run six miles!
So that’s how I got started…
I’ve pretty much run all my life since then. I ran cross country and track in elementary school, junior high, high school, and college. Although I was never an amazing runner, I had a great time competing throughout my school years. My first three years of college I did not run because my community college had no running program. Sure I ran every once in a while, but I didn’t really compete. My weight went from 185 to 210 because I still ate like a runner. And I got slow! When I transferred to a four year university to finish my degree, I almost didn’t join the cross country team. That was the worst mistake I almost made in my life! Fortunately I made it work with my schedule and got to spend two years as a college athlete. I worked my butt off and had a great two years. My senior year I got back down to 180 lbs and was in the best shape of my life. And then I graduated.
I kept going strong for a while, running a half marathon in June 2010 and finishing in 1:26:11. It was a great race and to my surprise I was 25th out of over 2,000 runners! I ran through the summer to prepare for the 2010 Chicago Marathon, but I had a few rough spots along the way. I wanted to qualify for Boston at Chicago, but I fell apart after 21 miles and finish in 3:18:43. It was a great race, and I was happy with it, but it wasn’t good enough.
Along came Kobi…
Five days after the Chicago Marathon I got my Vizsla puppy, Kobi. He is my first dog and everything I wanted in a dog! However, he requires a lot of time and attention. This did not help me at all with my training for my next marathon on April 2011. I would come home from work and a lot of times I felt guilty putting him back in his crate so I could go out for a run. I ended up getting a treadmill, so I could run and keep an eye on him at the same time. I put A LOT of miles on that treadmill, but my training was still not as consistent as it should have been.
The Illinois Marathon in April 2011 was far from my best race. I had gained at least 15 lbs. since the Chicago marathon, and obviously wasn’t going to be able to run at the same speed. I don’t think my training was as strong. I pretty much had a “Boston or Bust” mindset, so I went out with the 3:10 pace group. I hung on for 14 miles, but had to fall back. After that I pretty much suffered the rest of the way. I had to take a lot of walk breaks in between very slow running. When I finished, I couldn’t walk anymore. That’s not unusual for me after a race, but I decided to try something different for once. Enter barefoot running.
I have enormous feet, size 11.5 4E in normal shoes. I feel that my feet have always been “difficult” and I have to be very particular about the shoes that I wear, how many miles I run in them, etc. However, I’ve always had strong feet, and loved going barefoot. After the Illinois Marathon, I decided I was going to try to completely switch to barefoot running. I wrote a post explaining all the reasons why I’m running barefoot on here!
I’m starting to branch out into other fitness programs and trying to improve my nutrition to help me reach my goals. I want to qualify for the Boston Marathon in the next few years. And eventually, probably before I’m 30, complete an Ironman Triathalon.