Saturday, June 14, 2014

Happy "Runiversary" to me!

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!)