Wow, 11 years ago goes by fast.
Coincidentally, 10.5 years ago, I started blogging too, but a post for another day.
11 years ago, I ran my first running race. You can read my entire running store here.
Growing up, I was not a runner. Both my younger brothers adopted track in grade school but as for me? No. My parents signed me for swim team, and swimming was “my sport.”
My dad was a marathoner and ran most days of the week. My parents brought us to the track from time to time, but I would always “walk the dog” and use it as an excuse to sit on the bleachers.
I barely passed the mile test in gym class, and my PR 12:12 (passing was 12:30).
At my high school, you didn’t have to take gym after 10th grade. So after 10th-grade gym class, I avoided running like the plague. I wasn’t terribly athletic and certainly wasn’t coordinated through high school. I did swim competitively and did enjoy that. During the offseason from swimming, I went to the gym and used the elliptical or lifted weights.
It was nice to keep cardio and strength when I wasn’t swimming but I never (not once) used running as cross-training. The only two times I ran in early college was to “impress” upperclassman on the swim team. Each run was roughly 1.5 miles of run-walking, and it wasn’t impressive, and I made a goober out of myself both times.
Long story short, I had no idea what I was getting myself with a trivial campus 5k into, but the phrase “if it’s free, it’s for me” comes to mind.
So How the Heck Did I Go From That to a “Running Blogger”? LOL
When I was a college sophomore, I saw a sign at the gym that said if you completed the annual campus 5k, you got a free long sleeve t-shirt.
As a college student, you can never have enough things to stuff in your dorm room. Since I was living in Upstate, New York, the long sleeve was premium.
My college roommates always appreciated my hoarding. I had plenty of short sleeve shirts, but long sleeve shirts were something I was always looking for. All I had to do was sign up for a 5k and complete it?
Okay, sign me up.
Sign me up, and I didn’t run an ounce beforehand.
The race itself was a blur, and I finished around 24 minutes. I don’t remember the exact time, but I remember not dying, texting my shocked marathon running dad, and picking up my t-shirt.
Of course, I didn’t tell my parents about this 5k; I didn’t want the embarrassment that their daughter couldn’t finish a 5k. (Truthfully, they probably wouldn’t have cared).
I wore a t-shirt all around campus the following day. I beamed with pride, smiling at random strangers also wearing the cheap cotton long sleeve shirts. I was part of the “fit running community.”
After the race, it wasn’t as if I magically loved running. The race did make me realize running wasn’t all that bad. In the Spring of my Sophomore year, I ran when it was nice out. When it was sunny and warm, I would run the same 5k loop around campus. When it wasn’t, I would use the elliptical at the gym. That ended up being anywhere from 10-20 miles a week.
I mark St. Patrick’s Day as the official day I got my running start because, at that point, I considered myself someone who didn’t hate running anymore. When you fail the mile test multiple times in grade school, it’s hard to like it.
I didn’t sign up for another race until the following July over my summer break. My dad had asked me if I wanted to run both a 10k, but I turned him down because it was too far.
During the summer of 2011, I began really enjoying running. I even emailed my D3 collegiate coach and asked to walk on the cross country team (yes, really). I will always appreciate D3 sports because anyone can join as long as they are passionate about the sport. Some sports and teams are more competitive than others (My D3 swim team was intense), but some sports are not. I never had a “stand out season” there; however, cultivating my love for running was what I needed.
Since 2011, I haven’t run all the time every year. I’ve gone through long lulls with PRs (like now), I’ve had months of injuries, but I’ve also had months of great running. My interests in different kinds of running have changed. Some years I want only to run 5ks. Other years I’m all about a marathon. Currently, I am enjoying dabbling in trails.
The beauty of running is there are so many “types of running” for people of all abilities and ages.
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Questions for you:
When did you get started running?
What is something younger you never thought you would be doing now?
I started running seriously 11 years ago as well, except that I postponed much later than you. I was 49 and determined to get back into shape. Like you, I hated running in school and avoided it. I tried it a little when I first moved to Hampton Roads in 1988 and ran the Elizabeth River Run twice, but hated it both times, so I quit. After 20+ years and many unwanted pounds, I put myself back on track. A good running friend of mine kept challenging me to increase my distance. First it was a 5K, then a 10K, then a half marathon and, yes, finally a marathon. I decided I wanted to complete my first full marathon at age 50 and I did, running the Richmond Marathon in 2012. After that, I had the bug and did 12 more marathons and ultras. I am hoping I have one good marathon left in me and I am going to train for one in the fall of 2022, when I am 60.
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