My Running Journey Thus Far
So the other day I was asked by my friend Kari to do a little recap of my running experiences. It has been about 8 months now (can you believe I’ve been engaged that long already) since I started documenting my runs…. I had dabbled in some running for maybe 8 months or so before the blog began. So today I will you through an overview of how I got started, where I struggled, where I succeeded, and I’m sure I’ll remember some fun memories along the way.
Remember Day 1? I got up in the morning at 5:30AM and headed out to run! I started my running journey with intervals because there was no way I would have made it running even 10 minutes straight at that point and time. I had my usual breakfast of toast and peanut butter, laced up the tennis shoes and headed out.
My first interval looked like this
- Warm- Up 2 min
- Run- 5 min
- Walk 2 min
- Cool-Down 2 min
*Complete 3 rounds for 25 minutes total*
I thought about the wedding, about the running, and about the very funny and determined dog that I ran past. These runs were filled with thought… all of the time. Constantly thinking of things to do and everything going on in my list. At this point and time in my running career it worked for me to have my thoughts wander. That way I wasn’t worry about my heavy legs or shallow breaths but rather everything else going on in my life.
So after my first great interval run, it was less than 3 days later when I was just too darn tired to get out of bed! This was the day that I started to feel disappointed in myself but was also the day I realized well to be frank, shit happens. Sometimes you are going to feel too tired to get out of bed, sometimes your legs will just hurt like hell, and sometimes you just won’t feel like running and I didn’t know it at the time but that is OK. It is OK to take a break, it is OK to prioritize something else if you have to, it is OK not to run every single freaking morning at 5:30AM. I wished I had known that back in July!
So after feeling disappointed and just defeated I still got myself back up again and started running again.. and Tim started to come with me! At this point we were at week 3 and still on intervals. I really found this was the best way for me to train… run a little then take a break and walk a little. It allowed me to last a lot longer than if I would have just ran until I couldn’t anymore. So week three my intervals looks like this…
- Warm-up: 5 min
- Run: 6 min
- Walk: 1:50 min
This was the week when I really started to realize that if I had set my interval trainer for 25 minutes of a straight one I probably would have given up long before my mind was ready to! Since I did it a little bit at a time my body could keep up with how much my mind wanted to succeed! This run totaled a little less than 30 min which was a little over 2 miles. I repeated this interval for a few days until I was ready to move on to a new one!
*special note here… don’t move on to the next goal until you feel confident that you smashed the one you are currently working on. There is something about accomplishing that goal that will strengthen your mind and body!*
It was also during this interval that I really started to realize that it takes some time to hit your pace, catch your breath, and warm up those legs! Your legs aren’t just automatically warmed up- especially if you are exercising in the morning so it was really important for me to remember that just because the first 2 six minutes of running were tough didn’t mean the rest of the intervals would be just as tough. Usually- they just got easier!
I started to up my intervals even though some days I just wanted to quit. I was tired A LOT and my legs were sore and tired A LOT but I knew that the hardest part was just getting my butt OUT OF BED! Once I was out there and doing it I felt 100% better. For the next month I essentially just increased my running intervals my 1 min at a time and decreased by walk by 20-30 seconds!
In the middle of August I ran in a 5K with some friends and made it in about 32 minutes which I was very happy with. At this point I hadn’t done much more than interval run so I was thrilled with a time that was under 35 minutes! It was tough and I had to walk a few minutes during the race but I FINISHED which is an accomplishment in itself!
Then at the very end of August I finally did it… I just ran! I started stopping at the park on the way home from my parents and had made a goal to run at least 2 miles after rowing class. Then I ran for 45 minutes!!! I just kept going… just felt like it was a good time to reflect back on all of the hard work I had put into learning to love to run. I totally and completely cleared my head- didn’t worry about a thing- and just ran. This was one of those days when I really didn’t care how far I ran- because I ran for me… not for time or fitness or miles but for me. This was the run that I finally declared myself a runner- not a good runner but a true to yourself, run because you want to run, runner.
September was a great month! I did the Susan G. Komen in record time for me (which is still my record by the way). I was so committed to running I ran in Milwaukee when I was visiting for Casey’s bridal shower. I completed a 5K for work. September was just a great race month. Races really inspire me. There is something about the event and the people coming together for a cause that really inspire me to do something good for myself and others. Honestly, I would run in a 5K every weekend if I could because I LOVE these events and I really think it helped to contribute to my love for running.
After the races I started to amp up my running to include runs that were 20-30 minutes long with around a 11:50 min/mile. Slow but steady was my moto. It was about making the most out of my runs in terms of how much I enjoyed it- not how far I could run. I also started using the IPhone RunKeeper app and I very much recommend using an app if you can. It helps keep me accountable because I can track my progress. Plus, it allowed me to share my screen shots with all of you which was truly inspiration. I kept this up until winter hit hard and I just couldn’t run outside anymore!
So the last few months have been a world wind! I have been trying to up my mileage and managed to do 4 miles and then 6 miles a week later. I’m on track to finish strong for the halfathon in September!
But more important than training has been the journey to get there. I’ve struggled. I’ve cried. I’ve been disappointed. I’ve been let down. But mostly I’ve felt strong. I have more confidence. I’ve been more positive. I feel like a better me.
I think the benefits far out way the bad stuff right?
Look, if you are interested in running (Kari or otherwise) just get out there and try it! You are a runner as soon as you decide you are. It truly goes not matter if you can run 2 min or 2 miles- it is up to you to decide who you want to be! Get out there- put one foot in front of the other- and just go for it! If I can do it- anyone can!!