2 years. 24 months. 730 days. 17,520 hours. That’s how long it has been since I first laced up a pair of (then extremely cheap, off-the-Kohl’s rack) running shoes and headed out for a run. Yes, my friends, tomorrow, June 15, 2014, is my “runiversary”—the anniversary of my first-ever run. Obviously I ran prior to that day, but never with a true goal in mind. I ran because my gym teacher said we had to. I ran because my swim coach told us to. But running for the sake of running? I never had a desire to do so, until just over two years ago. It was June 13, 2012. I put it out there on Facebook… I was tired of being in the worst shape of my life. Tired of the extra 8 pounds from my pregnancy with the twins that I hadn’t been able to lose (which, I’m very happy to say, have disappeared along with several more due to an intense winter of marathon training!). I was tired of being… tired. I knew what I needed, and that was something to get me moving, both literally and figuratively. Swimming was where my heart lay; it was such a big part of my life for so long... but I just wasn’t sure how I’d fit in workouts, plus gyms with pools aren’t cheap. I had heard of the Couch-to-5K (C25K) program from a few people on Facebook, and thought that running might be something that I could do.
Two days later, on June 15, 2012, I completed C25K Week 1, Day 1, which was a ”brisk five-minute warm-up walk, then alternate 60 seconds of jogging and 90 seconds of walking for a total of 20 minutes.” I felt pretty darn awesome after that first run, especially in those off-the-rack pink Asics from Kohl’s! Oh, to know what I know about running shoes ;)
My first major setback as a runner occurred just five weeks after beginning C25K. My ankle started to hurt during Week 4, Day 3. I ran through it for Week 5, Day 1, but took a few days off after that. I attempted Week 5, Day 2, but had to almost crawl home in pain. I had my first visit to MaxSports a few days later, and the subsequent bone scan showed a stress fracture to my lower left fibula, right at my ankle. I was so disheartened, but in retrospect, I believe that injury only made me want to run even more. It’s like when something is taken away from you, then you truly realize how much you wanted/needed it!
Or 8 weeks!
I spent a long 8 weeks swimming and using the exercise bike at the gym, which were the only two forms of exercise approved of by my doctor. I also had to spend 4 weeks in a special air cast. Finally, in September 2012 I was cleared to begin the C25K program again. I chose to start from Week 1, Day 1, as I still felt like a very new runner and wasn’t sure if I was ready to start up with Week 5, Day 3 (which is a 20 minute run with no walk breaks!). That was on September 9, 2012, and I honestly haven’t looked back since. My first 5K was on November 18, 2012—the Hot Chocolate 5K in Columbus, Ohio. I went out fast and died, but had a blast! I still wasn’t yet sure that running was my thing, though. I kept at it, and joined a gym with a treadmill so that I could run through the winter. My runs slowly increased in distance, and I decided that I was ready to go to the next level and train for a half-marathon. My first half was on May 4, 2013, and all together in the past two years, I’ve ran in three 5K’s, one 4-miler, one quarter-marathon (6.55 miles), four half-marathons (13.1 miles), one 15-mile race, and one full marathon (26.2 miles). A total of 11 races in two years. This is a low number when compared to many of my friends, as I am not a huge fan of racing. In fact, in the past 10 months, I’ve only raced 5 times. I’m such a competitive person, but racing brings me back to swimming competitively, and I start to feel a ton of pressure. I love running so very much, and much prefer a nice long training run with friends to racing any day!
It’s kind of ironic that on my runiversary I will not be running. Yes, tomorrow is actually a rest day for me. I’ve learned so much over the past two years, and one of the biggest things is that I need to honor each rest day. My body, at almost 36 years young, protests if I run too frequently. I stick to 4 runs per week, although I’ve now figured out that I can successfully add in a couple of days of cross-training without too much of a struggle. I had a "double" today (8 mile run followed by an hour of Body Pump), and after a hard track workout yesterday morning, I know that I need to take a day off tomorrow. I do wish I could run tomorrow, however. Most of my runs (about 90-95% of them now) are happily done with my new runner mama friends, but if I were going to run tomorrow, I would choose to do a nice easy few miles by myself. Just to remind myself of why I started running. For me.
(although I do love PRs!)