Sunday, November 17, 2013

So You Want To Be A Runner?

In 2011, I decided I was going to become a runner. No, I didn't just wake up one day and decide. I had actually been a runner back in the day when I was much skinnier and in great shape. In 2010 I met my friend Aimee via the website Spark People. Yes, I met her online. Don't judge. Anyways, when we met she was in the midst of a massively inspiring weight loss journey. Over 100 pounds! She had run her first 5k in October of that year, and I thought to myself, "well I should do that."

I picked the Shamrock Run in April 2011. I asked Aimee to come run with me, and she did. All the way from West Virginia. In the months and weeks leading up to the race, Chris and I trained together--maybe not as much as we should have--but we tried. One day we were running at a local high school track and everything was fine. My left foot was hurting on the side but nothing out of the ordinary, so I didn't think anything of it. But after a few days it was becoming obvious something was not right. The pain was sharp and not going away, and running at that point was certainly not an option. So off to my doctor I went. The diagnosis was a hairline fracture. Doctors orders were to stay off the foot as much as possible, and in no way was I to be running at all. I was given a pretty hefty walking boot and sent on my way.

Needless to say I was super bummed out at the prospect of not being able to take part in my first race--plus the fact missing out with running with my friend who was flying all this way simply because I asked her to. By the time race day came, I was still having significant pain in my foot and knew running was just not an option. I was very disappointed. I went along anyways to support Chris, Aimee and a few of our other friends who joined us. The whole thing wasn't a loss. I did get to meet and hang out with one of my closest and dearest friends. Fatty may have broke her foot, but the "race that wasn't" helped solidify a life-long friendship.

I didn't let my foot keep me out of commission for long. A month later I finally got to run my first race. Chris and I ran in the Seahawks 5k in Renton, Washington. I was both nervous and excited. To a lot of people running 3 miles doesn't seem like that big of a deal, but when you have been overweight for as long as I have and trying to get healthy it feels like a huge mountain just to run one mile. So to take part in an actual timed race and FINISH was so awesome. My race time that day was 38.29. Not bad for a first timer. My pace was just about 12 1/2 minutes per mile. I was very happy with that and very proud of myself.
I am not sure I would say I like running, per se. I feel I can clear my head and release any crappy energy while I am running, and I like that. I like the adrenaline when you are nearing the finish line of a race, and the feeling of accomplishment when you cross the finish line. I have run a handful of races since. Not nearly enough or as much as I would like--I really need to start being more committed to it. Nothing keeps you motivated like a race looming over your head. You certainly don't want to be the fat girl being carted off to the ambulance. (Or followed by the ambulance just in case, right Aimee?!) I even got to run a race with my dad when he and his wife Lynne came to visit us a couple years ago. Well, we didn't really run with him given the fact he is like a roadrunner. No, seriously! He's 68 years old and runs like the wind. I think he bested both Chris and I by like 10 minutes and said, "oh, I just took it easy today." Grrr.
I hope to sign up for and run another race in the very near future. I very much need to get my lazy butt back in to shape and its the perfect way to do it.

I may never run a marathon or even a half marathon, but as long as I keep my feet moving and running I will consider myself a runner. If you are reading this and have always wanted to run but are thinking "I am too fat and out of shape," or "I can't even run a block," just stop thinking it. It is NOT true. There was a time I thought those same things, but they are lies and I can promise you that--because you CAN. Don't NOT run because you think you can't. Try it--the feeling you have the first time you cross that finish line will be exhilarating.

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