Since I'm just meeting some of you, I thought I'd do a post about how I got into running and fitness. When people meet me they often assume I've always loved working out. But that couldn't be further from the truth. In fact, I used to despise sweating! The only exercise I did was dancing in bars and clubs on the weekends.
I also lifted a lot of weights - I mean cocktails ;)
But that changed after joining a gym. My first gym was a local Bally's and through their group exercise classes I realized how much fun I could have while exercising. I made some wonderful friends through the classes and started working with a personal trainer who is a runner and triathlete. Learning about the endurance athlete lifestyle from her was like learning about a foreign culture. I scoffed at the idea of going to bed early and waking up before the crack of dawn to train. I exercised purely for the social aspect and so I could fit in my favorite jeans.
But eventually I was sucked into running. A few coworkers and I signed up to run the Indoor Marathon Relay. My team decided we would run one mile at a time, which seemed pretty easy. Anna, my trainer, gave me a training plan - which I followed for about two weeks before deciding I didn't need to train to run a mile. My gym bestie, Julie, ended up replacing one of the team members and her and I would 'train' on the gym treadmills by running one mile as fast as we could - usually in the 8-minute mile range. We thought we were soooo fast ;) And of course we didn't take into account that even if we could run one mile at 8 minute pace it didn't mean we could run that pace throughout the race. So during the race we were hurting, and we didn't keep track of how many laps we ran so our team ended up running extra. Haha.
I was super sore after the race but I had so much fun. It got me thinking that maybe I could do another race. I was still pretty clueless and for some reason got it stuck in my head that my goal should be to run a 5k in 25 minutes. So I ran my first 5k race - a small 5k at the local zoo in the middle of May. It was probably upper 50s, low 60s at the start but being a running newbie I thought I needed to layer up since I was chilly before the start. Oh, and I pinned my bib to my back. I roasted throughout the race and was drenched in sweat by the end. It was horrible, and I definitely did not run a 25-minute time. But I learned a lot from the experience. About a month later I ran that sub-25 minute 5k.
I also tackled my first half marathon, the inaugural Rock 'n Sole. In a way it was a good thing I was still pretty clueless about running and racing. It was a super hot day with a late start time. The race also ran out of water but fortunately I didn't experience that issue - I think it was mainly 10k runners that were affected. I was grossly undertrained though, running only 20-25 miles per week, and the last half of the race was pretty awful. After I finished I remember thinking I'm just not cut out for this!
RNS bib and medal
Of course that meant I immediately signed up for another race, the Haunted Hustle Half Marathon. This time I actually trained for the race. I started reading more about running and learning about workouts and types of runs and incorporated speedwork, tempo runs and overdistance long runs. I also upped my weekly mileage. It so paid off! I ran a new 5k PR leading up to the race and then shaved nearly 25 minutes off my half marathon time. I remember finally feeling like a runner and was excited to see what else I would be able to do with more training and racing experience.
And that is how my love of running began! Since that first year, my love for the sport has only grown and I've now been running for five years. I still get a good laugh when I look back on some of the things I did when I first started running - all the newbie mistakes. It's just part of the learning process, plus it would be a pretty dull story without a few growing pains :)
Officially a runner!
So that's how I got into running and fitness! My questions for you:
- How did you get into fitness?
- What newbie mistakes did you make?
- What fitness accomplishment are you most proud of?