How I Learned to Love Running

This is a repost of a post I wrote four years ago about how I started to love running and my path there. I’ve since run about 25 more halfs and four marathons, so it’s safe to say I’m hooked. 

Tonight, I’ll be running the J.P. Morgan Corporate Challenge with my coworkers, and this weekend, I’ll be running a 5K, 10K and half-marathon at the Runner’s World Heartbreak Hill Half. There’s still spots, so let me know if you’re interested, and I can share my code with you.

Running Deals I’ve Heard Of:

  • $20 off all Rock ‘n’ Roll Races
  • $10 subscriptions to Women’s Running

(This may be updated as I hear of more.)

How I Learned to Love Running

I got an e-mail last night from a reader that she was proud of herself for running her first sub-11:00 mile, because she had been the kid in middle school lagging behind everyone else in the hell that is the timed mile.

I also had a nightmare last night that I went running with a friend and that I was gasping for air and just couldn’t keep up.

I woke up this morning and read that e-mail and thought about my nightmare and how far I’ve come. A lot of people e-mail me to ask how I got into running and how I went from someone who could barely run to someone that finished a half-marathon.

In middle school, I was totally the kid huffing and puffing the timed mile, red-faced, just hoping it would be under 15:00. I was relatively athletic, (I played tennis and did gymnastics) but running was foreign to me. So I have no idea why I let MaryBeth talk me into joining the high school track team (except that she was older than me and therefore cooler so I listened), but I quit after half a season.

In college, I laughed at Lindsay and Liz as they woke up at the ass-crack of dawn for track practice and ran all around the city and I watched TV in bed.

In 2005, a few of my friends ran races with the AIDS Marathon Training Program. I went to an information session with a friend and decided we’d do Dublin. That summer, I had AWFUL AWFUL stomach problems, as in, anything I ate made me sick. Still, I thought maybe I could do it. There was a “fun run” after the informational session. An “easy” 2-3 miles around the Capitol and back. I seriously thought I was going to die. Still, I thought maybe I’d improve. I missed a few training sessions because of the stomach problems, and then I showed up and they said they’d time me running three miles to see what pace group to put me in. I stretched a little with everyone, and just before we were about to start, starting feeling sick to my stomach again. With scarlet-red cheeks and tears springing to my eyes, I went up to the coach and said I thought I would have to drop out. I then sprinted to a Port-a-Potty.

2006, a few of my coworkers were runners, and I got convinced to run the National Press Club 5K. I was signed up for the Army Ten-Miler, and I figured why not? I don’t remember it being easy, but I remember it being the first time I enjoyed running. I don’t, to this day, remember why I signed up for the Ten-Miler if I hated running so much. I ran the Ten-Miler with a friend, and I think she wanted to kill me. (Fair enough.) She, having run a marathon the year earlier, was an actual runner. I ran-walked the entire thing (mostly walking after mile 6), and wouldn’t let her run ahead because I thought I wouldn’t make it otherwise. It may or may not have tried our friendship a bit. We finished in something like 2:30 or something equally slow. I signed up for the Disney Half-Marathon that was a few months after that and ended up having to pull out because little Bailey dog broke his leg, and I didn’t want to leave my little injured puppy home while I went to Florida.

In 2007 and 2008, I went out for the very occasional run, but that’s about it. In 2009, once I started this weight-loss journey, I realized that I might actually like running, now that I was carrying around less weight. I started off signing up for a 5K and training for that, then the Army Ten-Miler again and then the half-marathon! I really built up slowly. My advice is to get out there and just run as far as you can. If you need to stop, stop and walk. Walk for no more than a minute. Then try to run again. Run as far as you can. Even if it’s only another minute. The more you go out there and do it, the longer the running will become, and the shorter the walking will become until you’re not walking at all!

2 comments on “How I Learned to Love Running

  1. Mom

    I have to write a little something to my daughter, I have to confess there have been many times I’ve said to you “Do you have to run” whey don’t we just go shopping!” But truth be told in my heart I know how much you love running, How much you have work hard and sacrificed your time, preserved under difficult circumstances and were determined to be the best you could possibly be. I admire that and I’m proud of you. In the next couple of weeks and months I will again be there for you as a cheerleading supporting you and encouraging you with a lump in my throat and tear in my eye, at the finish line with a great big hug, then we can go shopping!!

    Mom

    Reply

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