Thursday, October 20, 2011

One Year In and I'm Still Running

It was about one year ago today that I started running. Up until that point, I went to the gym pretty regularly but spent most of my time trying out classes, doing the elliptical and on occasion, cycling. I also worked with a trainer, Anna, and we focused a lot on strength training, specifically targeting my "weak" arms and "fat" knees.

How it all started
Around this time, my boss asked a few coworkers and I if we would be interested in signing up for the Icebreaker Indoor Marathon Relay. It seemed like a fun team building activity and running one mile at a time for a total of about 7 miles seemed pretty manageable.

When I told Anna, the first thing she asked me was had I ever run before. Sure, I had dabbled with short jogs on the treadmill or outside, but it was always for the purpose of burning extra calories, not for the purpose of actually running. After learning what a novice I was, Anna wrote me a training plan to get in shape for running the relay in January.

And that's how my love of running started! It's been rough at times (minor injuries, time conflicts, etc.) but during this past year, I've learned a lot and progressed more than I ever thought possible. I still remember my first 5k race last November and how I just wanted to finish in less than 30 minutes. I finished in 29:09, 32/92 in my age group. At my last 5k race, I finished in 22:53, 4/30 in my age group.

I knew I was a runner when . . .
It's been over these months, I've realized, I'm a runner! And believe me, no one is more surprised by this than me, the girl who once claimed to hate exercise. Here's how I knew:
  • I don't feel guilty about eating large amounts of bagels, pasta, etc. Carbs = energy.
  • Running shoes, clothes and accessories have taken over my apartment.
  • Over the summer, I found myself discussing performance nutrition and pre-race fueling on a date with a fellow endurance athlete. Sexy? Hardly. But I still found it pretty interesting!
  • I get a little too excited when a new Runner's World or Running Times is in my mailbox.
  • I wear flats more often now to save my feet for hard running workouts.
  • I find myself telling people things like "I'm only running seven or eight miles tonight."
  • My favorite websites include running calculators and running blogs.
  • These days, people actually ask me for running and workout advice.
Setting new goals
So, what's next? I want to keep improving my race times and running stronger at every distance. In 2012, I'd like to achieve the following:
  • A 6:20 mile time
  • A sub 21 minute 5K time
  • A sub 1:45 half marathon time
When and why did you start running? When did you consider yourself a runner? And, what running - or other workout - goals do you hope to achieve in 2012?

- ST

6 comments:

  1. I remember when we started working together :) I too used to just be a "gym rat" and ran on the treadmill here and there. When I was 21, a friend asked me to run a 5K with her, I said sure. After that, I randomly ran. When I was 24, a different friend asked me to do an indoor triathlon with her and her father. I had to train for that :) That was it! After that indoor triathlon series, I was hooked. Now, I am a 2x Ironman finisher and this weekend I am running a Marathon for fun! I guess I considered myself a runner that year that I started with indoor triathlons. Now as a personal trainer a going into my 6th season as a triathlete/runner, I am asked daily for running plans/advice. Every season, my goals change and I think that it what keeps me going. For 2012, I want to run a 3:25 marathon and qualify for Boston, qualify for the 70.3 Ironman World Championship at the Racine 1/2 IM, break a 45 minute 10K and run a sub 20 minute 5K. A big challenge that I have found, is training for both endurance and short course events. Sometimes its hard to meet both endurance and sprint goals within the same season. So, we'll see what 2012 brings :)

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  2. I think it's incredible you've completed not just one, but two Ironman competitions and can run a marathon just for fun :)

    I agree on the endurance and sprint goal dilemma. I want to run a marathon, but am worried it will slow my other distances. More than anything, I think I'm mostly a 5k runner!

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  3. I've been "running" since I was probably 10. My Dad would always take me with him. But, not until this summer do I feel like I am really doing it right. Before I had the technology to track my distance, I would usually time myself and go for 30 minutes (when I wasn't with my Dad). After getting my Nike+ set up (probably three years ago), I realized I was only running about a mile and a half. Even then, I would stick to the 30 minute goal. Now that I understand what it takes to really improve my health, and burn calories (and with a little inspiration from people around me) I know that it takes a lot more than that.

    My goals for 2012 are 1. simply to continue at it. 2. Build my endurance to be able to run longer without stopping, let's say 3 miles. 3. quick smoking ciggs for gooood. I'm doing terrible at that.

    Posting this later, but I wanted to after seeing it a few days ago :) And now it's not letting me, I'll trying posting as anonymous.

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  4. Those sound like great goals to me! Good luck with achieving them and definitely kick those ciggs to the curb :)

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  5. You have made some amazing progress in just a year. I think you have a real talent for this! I have been running for 3 years, but I don't think I'll be posting numbers like you have achieved for a while! I've done 2 road marathons and a trail marathon (that was hard!). I knew I was a runner when my habits changed from going out with friends on Friday nights, to socializing during our long runs early on Saturday morning. Congrats on one year, keep it up!

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  6. Thanks Anne! And congrats on your three marathons - I hear trail races are challenging! Maybe sometime I'll give one a try.

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