I thought I would share a little about how and when I started running, so as to catch you up to where I am today.
I first started running in 6th grade with the encouragement of my Norm, my step-dad, who was and still is a long distance runner. I joined track and would run in the evenings afterwards with Norm. I quit track sometime in junior high and though I wanted to call myself a runner after that… I really didn’t do a lot running for the next few years through high school. If I remember correctly, I went through a few running spurts, where I would start running for a couple weeks and would then dwindle out (I think keeping up with my social life must have been more important to me back then than was staying in shape or running).
After high school, I started running a little more regularly again and ran a few 5k’s. I wasn’t running enough to commit to any run that was longer than that because there were times that I would go weeks (and months) without running.
It was during the fall of 2006 when I began gradually increasing and becoming more consistent in my running. I had a friend who I convinced to start running with me. She had never been a runner before, so I took on the role of a peer coach. Though I was doing it for her, it did a lot for me too. It kept me accountable and disciplined in my own running, knowing that I was supposed to be helping someone else’s running and healthy lifestyle improve. Our running together didn’t last longer than that first semester, but nonetheless it started me back into the sport.
For the next two years, I still had windows of time that I wouldn’t run… but I never quit altogether.
During the summer and fall of 2008, I had made some changes in my life and decided I wanted to be even more regular and consistent in my running. So I gradually increased and by the summer of 2009 I had committed to running my first half marathon that following May 2010 at the Indianapolis 500 Indy Mini. Norm was running the race and my sister too. Norm has years of experience when it comes to running, so it was a great help and encouragement to be able to get feedback and answers on things along the way. I had a close friend who had just started running a few months before, who also decided to run the race with us. She and I both lived in Missouri at the time, and though we talked often of running together, we rarely did. She ran in the mornings and I ran in the evenings; I was on campus and she was off; she was married and I was single. Our lives and days just looked different- so we trained together through support and encouragement, instead of actually doing our runs together. She was the first friend I had bonded with over running. We were already close friends and had been since we met, but I think this brought us closer and bonded us in more ways than one would expect from running.
May 2010 rolled around and my friend and I drove to Indianapolis the night before the race. We had both had our last classes the week before and the week following had finals starting Monday morning. Needless to say, it was a lot to jam in. We all enjoyed the runner’s expo the night before the mini – we were like little kids in a candy store. We ran our race the following day, all ending at different times, but all ending proudly.
I had been told that once I ran my first half I would be hooked on running long distances and races and would want to do more. Well, that person was right. I still haven’t done as many races as I would have liked, but considering my crazy schedule the last two years, I think I’ve done okay.
After the race and graduation, I moved to Phoenix and while living there I worked at a group home of girls who are in state’s custody. I got several of the girls running a few times a week and one of them completed a 5k with me early fall 2011. I ran the Indy Mini Marathon again during the spring of 2011 and am now preparing to run it again in two and a half weeks.
I’m not near as ready as I’d like to be; my time will definitely be worse than last years, but my goal this year is just to run the distance. I am working full time, a full time grad student and this past fall I moved to Indiana and have been settling into my new life ever since. As I was told recently by Dustin (the person I’m seeing… boyfriend… manfriend… significant other… call it what you will), running is a lifelong sport. And so though I tend to set high standards in times which make them impossible… I am learning to let go a little in this area. My goal of this year’s Indy Mini is to have fun and finish. Also, Dustin is running the race with me this year. This will be the first time I have ran this long of a distance alongside another person… it’s been a great experience thus far.
I just signed up for the Indianapolis color run (5k) which is happening in July. Here is the link if you want to check it out- they have them all over the country. It looks like a lot of fun.
For this run there is a group of us who are planning on running it… and one of my nieces has agreed to do it and another is considering it. I’m thrilled to have one of or both of them to join me in the run, and in the sport of running.
Running brings so much to life. If you know me at all and have ever talked to me about the possibility of running, you know that I am thrilled when I hear someone talk about starting to run. People think they can’t do it because they never have, or they don’t have the build, or they can’t go fast, or they have asthma, the list goes on and on. But for the most part, anyone can do it. Start slow. Run and walk. You aren’t racing for the Olympic gold medal. Do what works for you. Build endurance and strength and in time you’ll see that you can do more than you ever expected.