My Running Journey

I’d thought I’d offer up the story of how I really began running. Looking back I thought I started running to get some exercise, lose a few pounds (of college weight) and then I remembered that an ex I had, who’d been a cross country star, told me I’d never be a runner. I think that sparked my interest to start and to prove him wrong.

When I began running it was 2007. I started out small, signing up for a few 5Ks on UNC-CH campus with the big goal of running the Cooper River Bridge Run (10K) a few months later. I pulled a co-worker into that plan and we would run after work multiple days a week. I started feeling that I could do it and come that April I completed my first 10K with a time of 1:03:41. I kept at that strategy running 5Ks and ran Cooper River again the following year (08) my time wasn’t as good but I still felt like I was doing alright with the running thing. A few Raleigh friends convinced me to sign up for a half marathon in VA beach which was a pretty lofty goal at that time but hey you only live once so I thought I’d give it a go. Then I found out that spring that I would be moving to DC that fall to start grad school and running kind of slipped off my radar for a bit. I tried to get in some training runs but didn’t really know how to train. So come Fall of 2008 I lined up for the RNR Va Beach Half. It was so stinking hot that day- but I managed to run/walk the race and finish around 2:45, which considering how much training I hadn’t done I felt pretty dang good about. Then grad school began and running really took a back seat to life.

Fast forward a year later, a close friend found this fun race out in Delaware, attached to the Dogfish Brewery, I decided to go ahead and sign up (stupidly for the 10K) and suffered through all 6 miles deciding that I needed to go out and get some running done. So later that fall I purchased new Nike running shoes with the sensor, got the adapter for my Ipod and an arm band. I started getting some runs in along the Capital Crescent trail and kept this up for a bit (upgrading to the sports band and ditching the Ipod Arm Band later). I ran off and on for a good portion of 2010 signing up for a couple of fall races (Dogfish again but only the 5K!) and completed the Cherry Blossom Ten Miler in spring 2011 running the entire time. It was at that moment I think that I realized what my body was capable of and I thought I could really do this. 

In the fall of 2011, tried to get more of a handle on running. My then boyfriend (now husband) had moved to Michigan for grad school and I was pretty lonely so I turned to exercise. What a fabulous choice that was! That fall I ran four almost back to back races faster than I ever had and decided to try the half marathon distance again that spring at RNR DC. It would be the first time I had tried that distance again since the sweaty run/walk of VA Beach in 2008. I spent all winter training and come time for the race I finished with a fantastic time of 2:09:04!! What an accomplishment that was for me. I ran a few more races that spring, including the Cherry Blossom Ten Miler again (time of 1:33:45) and tried another half in Raleigh, 2:13:33. After that I was a little fatigued so I took a break, shorter runs, not much over the summer. 

Fall of 2012 I started getting back into a rhythm and then registered to run Disney and entered the lottery for Nike Women. I spent most of that winter training to try and break my time from RNR DC. Disney Princess Half came up fast and furiously at the end of February. I was running with a small group of friends and we got to spend time at the Disney parks which was awesome. 🙂 I had been training in winter temps so to run in Florida in 60 degree weather with 99% humidity… let’s just say the race wasn’t kind to any of us. I had the best time (which is my worst running half time to date) of 2:17:44. So while running Disney was fun the humidity was not. But I was hoping that I could redeem myself with the Nike Women’s Inaugural Half in DC. What a fantastic race. It was definitely one of the most expensive races I’ve done but it was so well organized and there were cheerers and music throughout the entire thing. Plus you got the Tiffany’s necklace at the end delivered to you on a silver platter but hot men in suits. Win-win. And! I logged my current half PR: 2:07:30. Was beyond proud of my accomplishment. 

I took another run break after and only signed up for one half in the fall of 2013- Hershey Half Marathon through Hershey Park with JJ. Unfortunately my summer training was little lax and about a month before the race I strained my IT band. 😦 Cue foam rolling and lots of cross training to get my through that half. I ended up running part of the race with JJ finishing one of my slower times but it was nice to spend the race with someone. Normally I just run along, too focused to have conversation or stay with a friend.

After Hershey I took a very long break from running, focusing on strength and core training at a local gym called Solidcore. I spent a large portion of 2014 focused on wedding planning and moving and so only registered for 2 half marathons- one in the spring: RNR Raleigh and one in the fall: Avengers Half in Disneyland. Raleigh was again not my fastest (thanks to the heat!!) but I did get to run the entire race with my bestie, Kristi. She is a super runner but had been having knee problems- so she was taking it easy by running at my pace. After Raleigh, I focused solely on staying in shape for the wedding and packing up my DC life to move to WI. Fall training wasn’t bad in WI because the weather turned to Fall pretty quickly after we arrived. Outdoor training was nice! Of course I was a little worried about the temps in CA but that turned out ok. Avengers (currently my last half to date) was the windiest race I’ve ever run. I liked Disneyland but am partial to Disneyworld. I ended up at 2:09:05 so still not close to breaking 2 hours. One day I’ll get there.

Winter came to Wisconsin and so I turned to the local gym to do weight lifting and treadmill running. Windchill is no joke here so I wasn’t interested in running outside. We just started back outdoors in March to start prepping for this season’s races. There are 5 races on the schedule: Eisenbahn (WI), Alexandria (VA), Bellin Run, RNR Chicago and SeaWheeze in Vancouver. Due to the closeness of time of the races, as long as I finish them all, I’m going to fulfill the requirements to become a Half Fanatic. SUPER EXCITED.  So that’s my running journey- I’m hoping to continue it over the years to come adding on races as I go. 

Any of you that might read this, let me know what races you’re up to this year in the comments below!

5K: 26:55
10K: 59:00
10 Miler: 1:33:45
Half Marathon: 2:07:30

Number of Runs per year:
2009- 7 runs
2010- 18 runs
2011- 123 runs
2012- 121 runs
2013- 128 runs
2014- 81 runs
2015 – 20 runs so far. 

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