All my life I have wanted to be a runner. Several-month-long spurts of running on my parents’ treadmill every morning has happened all throughout my life, and I remember the only time I felt like a successful runner was when I ran an 8:30 mile in middle school. But even during the months of no running (which were, quite honestly, most of the months out of the year), the desire to be a runner never want away.
Who would have thought that it would be the discovery of the blogger world that would push me to actually become a runner? Here’s how it happened.
Step One (2011): Discover A Foodie Stays Fit, love it for its humor, interesting details, and discussion of clean food and running.
Step Two (2011): Keep reading A Foodie Stays Fit on a daily basis. On days when Teri hasn’t posted something new, I find myself reading multiple posts from the past until I am finally caught up on the entire blog. No shame.
Step Three (2011): Discover other blogs about running. Read them on a regular basis. Keep wishing I am a runner.
Step Four (January 2012): I make two goals for the year: 1) I will live out of my best hopes rather than out of my worst fears. 2) I will learn to love exercise.
Step Five (March 2012): Buy my first pair of Vibram FiveFingers because Teri, Ashley (from Edible Perspective), and the Vibram FiveFingers website have convinced me that they are more than worth a try. Promise myself that I will actually use these shoes . . . by running a half-marathon!
Step Six (March-April 2012): Run several minutes each day each week, gradually increasing the number of minutes each week. (Sometimes this happens; sometimes it doesn’t. I am mid-semester of college, after all.) Create a Wish List of running clothes and set another goal: if I have been running consistently by June and can run up to 3 miles by then, I will buy myself one item from this list.
Step Seven (May 2012): My parents surprise me with gifts from my Wish List (early birthday presents!). By this time, I am well-versed in “runner’s food” and “runner’s clothing” and “how to get into a running groove,” but it’s time to actually put that knowledge into practice. No more excuses – the semester is over! I start running, increasing my mileage each week . . .
MAJOR ACCOMPLISHMENTS during this month: I run two miles in under 20 minutes in Kiawah, South Carolina (the most beautiful place to be and to run, I am convinced); I run two miles on the beach without dying; and I register for the Bass Pro Half-Marathon.
Step Eight (June-August 2012): Set a goal to keep increasing my running mileage each week. Fail: I’m a residential camp counselor at one of my favorite places in the world. Ain’t nobody got time to run!
Step Nine (August-November 2012): Get serious about increasing my running mileage because I seriously feel guilty about now owning what’s on my Wish List without having much to show for it – plus, I’m not going to waste a $50 half-marathon registration! Start training with my friend Ciara (who has run one half-marathon before). We use a Hal Higdon Training Plan. Write each workout into my planner IN PEN; it’s part of my day, and I can only scratch it out of my calendar under extreme circumstances.
MAJOR ACCOMPLISHMENTS during this time: I meet my second 2012 goal of learning to love exercising; I somehow/sometime fall in love with running and begin to look forward to the scheduled runs; I make time for training; I work up to being able to run 10 miles, and I finally feel comfortable/confident enough to go out and run 4 miles alone.
I am overwhelmed by gratitude for having been able to run this half-marathon (and do all the necessary training for it beforehand). Until I find a more appropriate place of honor for my medal, it will stay looped over my bedpost, a daily reminder of a childhood dream accomplished. I still feel grateful, content, and humbled today when I think about this whole experience. So, so grateful.
(. . . I don’t have much encouragement to offer as to how much I’ve been running since the half-marathon, but let’s just say that I’m working up to it.)
I’d love to hear your running story! Please comment below.