Tuesday, January 5, 2010

A little about my "running" history: My first 5 miler!

Hi there! One of the reasons I wanted to blog was just to share a bit about myself and my journey into fitness. I came from a not-so-fit place. S.A.D. diet (including LOTS of meat, fried stuff, fast food, beer, etc.), minimum exercise, although I really wanted to work out more, and major yo-yo dieting! YIKES!! Now, top that all off with the smoking (how stupid!!)I started with a college friend Freshman year, and continued till I found out I was pregnant with my darling daughter 10 years ago, and you have the makings of one un-healthy chick!

I wanted to work out harder than the 30 minute aerobic dance videos (you know the ones, pony tails, bright pink leotards, leg warmers - c'mon, you've been there!), or the 3 mile power walks, but the smoking did me in. Why did I continue? I knew it was reeking HAVOC on my body, but 1) I was young and invincible, 2) I was addicted as hell! Can you say MAJOR addictive personality? Yikes!

I had always said that the only way I'd be able to quit was when I got pregnant. And it's exactly what happened. It was one of the best days of my life, finding out we had successfully made a living being, who I was sure would be the center of my life (and she is...) and the hardest day, trying to give up what had such a lock-hold on me. But I did it! Had cravings for about 2 or more years, but I DID it!!! Chalk one up for moi. Smoke free for 10 years. :)

So,that nasty habit being kicked, and my diet going from SAD to Veggie-rama (more on that transformation later), I started running. Wouldn't go far. 3 miles was the norm. It took a mere 1/2 hour and I could be out and back before anyone knew I was gone. And it felt GOOD!!

I ran from 2001 - 2008, 3 to 3.5 miles at a time. Loved it, but wanted more. I still had the "I can't run long but I can run frequently!" mentality (remnants of smoking mentality.) But one day that changed. One day in September of 2008 I was sitting at work and had a mental breakthrough. Out of the blue, I got it in my head that I was going to double my distance. I was going to run 6 miles that day!!! But could I do it? The doubt was there, but I squelched it with my adrenalin kick. I went out to a great sports store at lunchtime (a bene of working in the city!) and got a pair of new running kicks. I Launched my plan of doing my first ever 6 miles at the local track by my house, and I could hardly wait to get home! But it was going to be hard...

Ya know what? Getting my Masters while working full time was hard. Giving birth to 2 children was hard. Not eating cookies after 8:00 is hard...but not THAT hard. I was strong. A bit flabby on top of the muscle, but I was strong and motivating more every day to stay strong.

And it HAPPENED! I ran 5 (not quite 6) miles for the first time ever. Ever!!
Unfortunately, what I though were fantastic new NewBalance kicks turned out to be "high arch" kicks, and I, my friends, apparently do not have a high arch.

I skipped out of work early on a beautiful sunny afternoon, and I went to the track with the magical, mystical number of "6 miles" in my head. Had been thinking about it all day. Don't know why 6 miles, but it is what it is. Maybe it's just because 6 miles is a nice, even 4 times around the track on all 6 lanes. 24 times around the track = 6 miles. Whatever, it seemed like a good enough goal.

Out I go. Even had my friend and our kids with me. My friend was encouraging me every time we passed on the track (she is a walker/runner) and the kids played. But my son, 6 year old love that he is, cheered me on good and loud whenever he looked up and saw me run by. LOVE that!

At 3 miles (2 sets of all 6 lanes) I was at my usual "phew" place. Ie: "Phew, I made my usual 3 miles, I'm tired but that's because it's time to stop." But I knew I had to go on. I wanted to go on. All I could think about was that I wanted to go home and tell my hubby that I ran 6 miles (he's so proud of any of my running accomplishments - thank you baby!). I wanted to shout it out to my friends who I would regularly walk/run with. I wanted so badly to be able to share my 6 mile accomplishment with everybody I knew!

At 4 miles I was still going strong. "Only 2 more lanes and then I'm on my last set of 6...I can SOOOO do this!" But I started doing it with a limp. I could feel the blister starting on my arch. In my new sneaks! AAAHHHH! I can do it. I can plug through.

By 4 1/2 miles it was really painful. With each step I could feel this blister thing growing. I was so aware of each step, I didn't know if I could even finish 5 miles. But I persevered.

At 5 miles ( I honestly don't think I've ever run 5 miles before...4 1/2 I've done once or twice but not 5) I physically felt like I could absolutely finish the last 4 lanes and make my 6 mile goal. No problemo with the legs and the breathing and the psyche. No problem at all. But this BLISTER must be the size of my foot by now and I was running with the right foot turned in. I didn't think I should do this for another mile. I figured I'd better just adjust the sneaker or something. So I finished mile 5 and "pulled over". Took off the shoe, took off my sock and saw the quarter sized blister pulling apart my arch. Well, everything else feels ready to finish that last mile, so back on with the sock, back on with the shoe, and I was about 5 steps in and I just couldn't even walk. Probably shouldn't have even stopped at all. But I had a 3.5 mile race that Sunday (4 days!) and if I made this monster even bigger, I wouldn't be able to do my race, and I'd waited all year for this race. I LOVE this little local race that I had done every year for what seemed like ever. So, I limped over to my friend, gathered up my kids and limped to the car.

But you know what? I RAN 5 MILES!!!!! FOR THE FIRST TIME EVER!!!! Oh-my-God I was so excited!!!

And after my 3.5 mile race that Sunday, I took a few more days of blister healing time off, and got BACK to the track, with NEW shoes, and RAN THAT 6 MILER!!!!!!

It was exhilarating, from the beginning to the end.

From there it was 5Ks, 10Ks, a 1/2 marathon, and just this past October, my first 26.2 mile MARATHON! Running is in my soul. Who knew? I guess I did. Just needed to get out from beneath the smoke and find that runner-girl. And ya know what? She kinda rocks! :) :)

Anyone else got some cool "first timer" stories to share? I'd love to hear them!

Hugs and fabulous runs!

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