I run, but I am not a runner.
A few weeks ago, my fellow CFF blogger Leigh Anne wrote this post about being an active and fit family. Leigh Anne did such a great job offering ways to stay active and included some really awesome links to local running groups. Since the weather is getting warmer and it is easier to get out and about, I thought I would share my running story for those of you who may want some motivation.
In middle school, I was on the track team. I ran long distance (definitely not a sprinter) and enjoyed it. Of course, I was also playing soccer and cheering, so I got a lot of exercise. You could say that my endurance was pretty good…back then.
Then I had four children. I still exercised and worked out at the gym, but running? No.
It was 2011 when I decided that I wanted to try this running thing again. I found the Couch-to-5K program and I realized that this would be a good way to get into running as an adult. The program is gentle and does a great job of building up your running time week to week. I did my first 5K in February of 2011. My goal was to run the entire way and I did it!
Then one night in January 2012, I was perusing Facebook and saw many of my friends from high school who had just completed the Houston Half Marathon. Immediately, I knew that a half marathon was something that I wanted to do. It was something that I would do. But I wasn’t sure how to choose a half marathon, let alone train for one. I spent hours on the computer that night, searching Run Georgia for a half marathon that would fit my schedule.
I found one. The Zooma Half Marathon would be the beast that I would complete. Truly, this race was meant to be. The date of the race was April 22nd, 2012. You see, just four years earlier, in 2008, we had buried our third child Luke. On. That. Day.
How perfect was this? Not only was I going to complete a race that I never thought I could finish, but I would do it on the fourth anniversary of the last day we saw Luke’s beautiful face. I knew that the only way I could get through that race was with Luke’s spirit pushing me. When I told the Zooma team my race story, they interviewed me for a post on their site. I was thankful to share my running story as well as Luke’s heart story.
Once the task of signing up for a race had been completed, I found a training plan that would work with my schedule and would have me race-ready by April 22nd. Hal Higdon is a big name in the race world and his training plan had me more than ready on race day. I was lucky to have found an amazing group of women to help me get my training miles in. My friends at Moms Run This Town (MRTT) got me through some of the more difficult runs with laughter and motivation. MRTT was started by a local mom and has grown into a national group for running mamas! Whether you are a beginner or a master, you should check them out.
Once race day rolled around, I felt prepared. I had done all that I could. My husband downloaded “secret” songs onto my iPod and I had yummy (not really) chews to give me energy when I was feeling low. My sister designed a very special shirt for me and Debra at Vinyl Chatter brought her design to life. I was ready.
Thankfully, the day of the race was beautiful. The sun was shining, but it was cool. The run wasn’t too hilly, but I do remember one hill that was pretty rough. I got through the first 10 miles pretty easily. But I started to feel the pain after that. I think that is around the time that the theme song from Chariots of Fire came on my iPod. My super-cool husband has a pretty good sense of humor! I’m not sure that I would have been able to finish the race without the support of my family and friends. I felt them cheering me on, as if they were running with me.
I completed the race in under 2 hours and 30 minutes, which was my time goal. I was happy and proud of myself for what I had accomplished. I did something that I never thought I would have been able to do.
Since my first half, I also completed the Disney Princess Half Marathon with my sister (although I had no training –I do NOT recommend this) and have run a few 5Ks. But I am afraid that my half marathon days have ended. A few months after the ZOOMA race, I was diagnosed with three herniated discs. These were present before my race (I have had pain for years), but I do not want them to get worse by running long distances. So I guess it is 5Ks for me from now on!
If you think that a 5K, half marathon, or even a marathon is something that sparks your interest, I encourage you to find a race, find a training plan, and find some buddies to run with. You will be glad you did.
Each time I see that 13.1 sticker on the back of my van, I smile.by