|"I remembered how much I actually enjoy running"|
After 11 months of solid training, I lost the reason I run. As I tapered down for my marathon, I remembered how much I actually enjoy running. I feel free and fast (whether I am that day or not). I also run to eat. After 30, the eating habits of my youth started catching up.
How long have you been running? How did you get started? Why did you choose running over other activities?
I have been running since April, 2010. There was a local 5K that was on my 31st birthday, so I decided to do it. To this day, I don't know what prompted me to make that decision. I walked out the door in my Nike Shox without a clue or a plan and started trying to run. I had no idea how far 3 miles was. After a couple of weeks of "work," and my newly acquired shin splints, I toed the line. I finished my first 5K in 37:00. I always considered myself cardiovascularly challenged, this proved it. I hung up my running shoes for awhile (mostly because I could barely walk, much less run). In the fall there were several local 5Ks and I wanted to run them. I found the Couch 2 5K plan and started training. I also discovered the RWOL forums. I shaved 3:00 off of my 5K time! Then I signed up for a 10K, again no idea why. I had never run that far before. That race took me 1:15:00 (I was next-to-last). I finally broke down and went to an asthma doctor who told me I had exercise induced asthma and about Jeff Galloway's run/walk/run plans. Jackpot! This past January, I started Galloway's 5K plan and took 4:00 off of my original 5K time. I then (again, no reason) decided to try his marathon plan. When I started, I was running 3 minutes, walking 1. One day I decided to see how far I could run non-stop, I made it 3 miles. I then changed my plan to run 1 mile, walk a bit. After finishing Galloway's 6 month marathon plan, I moved on to Higdon Intermediate II. Thus began the handing over of my free time to running. I have done other means of fitness, P90X, Insanity, but nothing has the same satisfaction as running.
How do you motivate yourself to run regularly? What about on the days the weather is bad or your are feeling particularly lazy?
Right now, my motivation is getting the training in for this marathon. I'm not going to lie, I've slept in instead. Some days you listen to your body and stay in bed. Others, I just suck it up and get out there. Cold mornings are the worst at the beginning, but you feel so alive at the end. Fortunately, we had record draught in Texas this year, so I only lost one day to rain. Now I have a running buddy and am comforted knowing that some other nut job is outside in the cold and dark waiting for me. After my first marathon, I don't see me ever running in the rain on purpose again (see marathon story below).
Do you use a running coach, or read any books to aid in your training?
I've read Galloway's book and used his 5K and marathon plans. I've now moved on to Hal Higdon's plans. I also absorbed a ton of wisdom from the folks on the RWOL forums, namely in the Turtle Room. Twitter has also been a wealth of support and advice. Many thanks to my virtual training buddy, @pmumbower. I also have a local friend who has run 2 marathons that has been great help.
How do you fit running in with your daily schedule?
I didn't have many choices during the warm months. When the evening temps are still 100*, you get up before the sun, when it's only 85*. Because I work, my options have been get up early or try to squeeze it in at the end of the day. Now that it is dark at 5:30, I get up early again. For some reason the pre-dawn dark is different than the evening dark.
Do your friends and family support your running or think you are crazy?
My family thinks I'm insane, but are supportive. My brother-in-law is intrigued. I'm still not sure what my husband thinks. Most of my support comes from online friends. Because I live in a small town, there aren't that many people to connect with that understand what I'm doing. I've just started running with a lady that has run several marathons and understands the insanity of getting up at 5:15 on Thanksgiving morning to go for a run.
What is your favorite running terrain (road, trail, treadmill)?
I hate me some treadmill. I've only been on one one time, out of necessity. I run on the roads, which where I live, can be as treacherous as trails. I would like to try trail running, just because I've always loved being in the woods.
What is the hardest race you’ve run to date?
I originally wrote this answer prior to my marathon and it was about my first 10K (that I ran with no running plan or training) and a very hilly 5K. Now that I've run my marathon, that answer is being edited. Picture it, December 4, 2011, Fair Park, Dallas, Texas. The temperature is a balmy 48*, scattered rain and North wind. I'm in my corral, glad for the throngs of people around me blocking the wind. As my wave finally approached the start line, the rain started and never, ever stopped. At first the rain wasn't so bad, but then came the puddles and the temperature drop and then the wind from the lake. I ran with a pace group until mile 12, where I finally had to walk and ultimately lost them. I saw my friend at mile 12, walked up to her, put my head on her shoulder and burst into tears. Her offer to put me in the car and take me home made me realize I couldn't quit. My hip flexors were exhausted and the act of moving one foot in front of the other became a battle. I have never been so cold, so wet and in so much pain in my entire life. When I finally made it across the finish line, I wept uncontrollably. The sweet man that put the foil wrap on me patted me on the shoulder and said, "it's over." That is when the real pain set in. I still don't know how I made it across the fairgrounds to my friend's car.
What is the most enjoyable race you’ve run to date?
Funny enough, it was a Turkey Trot. My friend and I had already run the course that morning to measure and mark it. So the actual race was my 2nd 5K for the day. The course was pretty flat and the weather was cool/cold. I finished my first mile in 9:30, second in 9:50, third in 10:00. I have never run so fast. I don't want to say it wasn't a challenge, but it felt great to know I could run that fast.
Have you ever been injured due to running? What were the ramifications?
My main nemesis has been shin splints. In the beginning, it forced me to stop running. During marathon training, I've learned the art of the ice bath.
Do you use any music or run tracking devices when you run, or are you a naked runner.?
I've always run with music, until my headset died. I ran a 23 miler with no music and was fine. Since then, I've opted to run without it. The peacefulness of the run is calming. I do wear my Garmin 310 to track distance and pace. I couldn't imagine a run without it. I kind of use the numbers to either make myself work harder or to pat myself on the back.
How do you get yourself through the difficult parts of your runs? Do you have a personal mantra or do you just give up?
While I am my own worst enemy, most times I can talk myself out of ruts and keep going. A few times I've cut a run short and beat myself up for it afterwards.
A lot of runners know that “Who has the runs” has a double meaning. How do you deal with the occasional “problem” that plagues every runner at one time or another?
I am fortunate that I've never had that problem.
What advice would you give to someone thinking about taking up running?
Start slow, get a plan and get running friends (in person or online). The Couch 2 5K plan is a good start or start with Galloway, he's very beginner friendly. Find a running buddy if you can get one. I just got one at the end of my training and she's been invaluable. She is now going to start marathon training. Two days removed from my marathon and we're making plans for a half in March.
What is your next big race?
Since I've never run a half, I'm planning on one in March. I put the cart before the horse on the marathon/half-marathon order of things.
What is your immediate running goal?
Get over the marathon I just ran and be able to pick up training for the half. My friend and I want to kick some butt at the half.
What is your ultimate running goal?
1) Run faster for more than 5K. 2) Run the Marine Corps Marathon and the Disney World Marathon. Yes, I know night and day. The Marine Corps, because the Marines are awesome and the privilege to run that race, on that course, is more than words can express. Disney World, because you get to run through Disney World!
Do you have a way we can keep track of your progress (Twitter, Facebook, Blog, etc)