My Running Story

My Running Story: How it all Began

I started running in January of 2011.  I don't know the exact phone had issues and my app lost all that data.  I know it was probably around the 10th of the I'm going to adopt that as my runaversary.

I had a couple pairs of running shorts (because that's what I wear over my swimsuits) and an old pair of athletic shoes I had bought to wear to the gym several years earlier.  They still looked in pristine condition.  Target had some dri-fit type shirts on sale in their "Christmas is over but it's too early for summer stuff so we're going to have random things on sale" area.  I bought one in black and one in purple. I also had to buy a new sports bra.  The ones from college just didn't fit anymore...that's what having two kids will do to you.

Now that I had the gear, I needed the method.  I knew that if I just went out and ran I'd get tired quickly and just give up.  I downloaded a couch to 5k app for my iphone.  There are a lot of choices out there, but I went with the one by Bluefin Apps.  I'm not sure why...probably because it was the first one that showed up on the list.  It let me listen to music and a really nice voice told me when to run and when to walk.  I like her best when she tells me it's time to walk.

I grabbed all my gear (and two kids) and headed to the gym at our church.  The track is small, it takes 19 laps to make a mile...not that I'm going to come anywhere close to a mile for a loooong time.  That first day I alternated between running 30 seconds and walking 1 minute.  I did that over and over for 20 minutes.  It doesn't sound that hard...but it wore me out.  Yes, running only 7 minutes over a total of 20 minutes kicked my butt.

I realized that if I was going to do this I needed better shoes.  Shoes that were designed for running, and shoes that hadn't been in my closet for over 2 years.  I wanted good shoes, but since I was just starting on this journey I wasn't willing to pay too much. If I only lasted 2 weeks what would I do with expensive running shoes...let them collect dust in my closet too?  On the way home I stopped at Academy.  I didn't see anything there under $60.  Not gonna work for me.  My next stop was Famous Footwear.  I found what I was looking for.  Good starter shoes at a reasonable price.  Now I was really ready to run.

A couple of days later I returned to our church gym.  (It was January...way to cold to run outside.)  Around and around the track I went.  I did the same pattern again, but this time it was easier.  I began to feel like this might actually happen.

The next step to being a runner was to get one of those phone cases that straps to your arm.  After all, all the runners have them!  Plus, I was always worried I was going to drop my phone while I was running.  New shirt, new shoes, fancy running phone I was starting to look like a runner.

I those first couple of weeks I started setting my sights on the 5k at the Oklahoma City Memorial Marathon.  I needed to have a goal to keep me motivated...and the timing would work out for that race.  If I followed the training plan exactly I would be up to a 5k several weeks before the race.  Of course, I had bumps along the way, so I was just getting there when it was time for the race. Those first four months I was on fire.  I was motivated.  I didn't stop.  I ran in the church gym, in my neighborhood, and even Hafer Park (my favorite.) I ran up hills and even better, down hills.  My knees hurt, but I wasn't letting that stop me. I had a goal.  I'd paid my money, I was going to complete the race. (I shouldn't really call it a race because the only timing was my stopwatch, but I got a race bib and a finisher's medal.)  Yes, there was a medal waiting for me!  After all, My husband already had several...I was going to get one too.  

After the race is when my randomness kicked in.  My knees had been hurting for a while, and I wanted to rest them and let them heal.  Also, it was hot outside.  If you don't remember the summer of 2011 let me remind was constantly over 100 in Oklahoma.  I didnt want to go outside, much less run.  Lastly, we were preparing to move cross county to Georgia.  That took a lot of my time...and just made finding time to run harder.  For a couple of months you couldn't even call me a random runner, because I really wasn't a runner at all.  Fortunately that all changed when we arrived in Georgia, but that's another story for another post.


My Running Story: Why I Run

I couldn't decide what to call this post.  Should it be "Why I Run" or "Why do I Voluntarily Torture Myself?"  There is both good and bad to running...but I guess the good outweighs the bad, or this blog would be about being a couch potato.

Running is hard...there's no doubt about it.  Every time I start running the first 5 minutes or so are the worst. My legs hurt, my lungs hurt, and my heart feels like it's going to explode. In those first five minutes I start thinking I should just stop running.  Forever.  So...who's ready to lace up their shoes and join me?

After about 5 minutes it starts to get easier.  My legs start to relax.  I can breathe again.  I'm starting to feel like I can do it after all.  (It helps that this is where I usually start going downhill.). By the time I've finished my first mile I'm in the zone.  I don't just think I can do it...I know I can.  The runner's high starts kicking in.  I've got my tunes going and I feel good.  Each time I run it gets a little easier.
That doesn't really tell you why I just tells you how I get through it.  So why do I run?  I've had to think long and hard about why I run.  I guess there are several reasons.
1.  Losing weight - Growing up I was a stick.  Not any more!  Since my son was born I'd put on over 20 pounds.  I've been using running (and Weight Watchers) as my weight loss tools...and I can proudly say I've lost 20 pounds!  I wouldn't mind loosing another 5 pounds or so...but what I really want now is to tone my midsection.  Running alone won't do that, but it's a great tool to help me get there.

Funny Sports Ecard: How many calories does just wearing my running clothes burn?
2.  A Healthier Me - Being at a good weight is only part of being healthy.  I want to keep my body in good working order.  It's easy to sit still all day...even though I'm busy doing "stuff."  I want to make sure I stay active. I want to stick around for a long time...if only to torture my kids.
3.  Runner's High - yes, it really does exist...kinda like Santa Clause and M&Ms.  (Yum)  It's funny how I finish a run, feeling like I'm about to die, and I'm already planning my next run.  I want to go out and run again...even with my legs and lungs screaming at me.

4.  Races - Races are fun!  There's excitement in the air, fans to cheer you on, and lots of other crazy runners on the course with you.  I know I'm not racing for a medal...I'm usually just trying to reach the finish line.  The atmosphere at a race helps you to do better that your usual best...and there's nothing wrong with that.  Best yet, there are water stations during the race and goodies to eat and drink afterwards...and there's always a t-shirt!  Much better than running in my own neighborhood.
5.  Setting Goals - I'm a goal oriented person.  I need a reason to do something.  When I run I set goals for myself.  Sometimes it's trying to run a new distance, sometimes it's trying to get up a new hill.  This is another reason I like entering races...they are goals that keep me going.  After all, what's the point of paying to run in a race if I'm not going to finish.  I would love to run one race a month, but we'll just have to see how that goes.  Maybe that should be my next goal...
6.  Friends - I have some wonderful friends that are fellow runners.  Not marathon runners (although I know some of those crazy people too), but people that run randomly just like me.  We talk about what shorts to buy, where to get a good deal on shirts, and what races we will do next.  Best of all we encourage each other.  They are there to celebrate my victories, sympathize with my defeats and sometimes laugh at with me along the way.  Best of goes both ways.

To sum it all up, I run to be a better me...socially, mentally and physically.   I guess if I'm really honest with myself, I run because I like it.

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