I am not a natural runner. I am slow and clumsy. I'm sure that I don't look very graceful and I know that I will never win a race. I sometimes get frustrated when I see other women out running, especially who are around my age, and they are literally sprinting the entire time while I feel like I am barely shuffling my feet.
I really didn't start running on a consistent basis until I joined the Army in 1999. Of course, I had to run during basic and AIT. I had to run in OCS but it wasn't until my Officer Basic Course that I chose to run. I ran mainly for the fitness factor, and of course because of the inevitable PT test, but there were little spurts where I almost enjoyed running thrown in here and there.
Given the fact that I had never been taught the "right" way to run, I'm sure that you will be surprised to find out that my first race was a full marathon. Yep, 26.2 miles. In the mountains. In Arizona. I entered into The Thunder Mountain Marathon in Sierra Vista, Arizona just 9 months after breaking my fibula in the Army. The race was on March 27 and I didn't start training for it until January 1. Crazy. What was I thinking?? In my mind, though, I kept telling myself that if Oprah could run a marathon at 40 then I certainly could run one at 27. The difference was that Oprah had trainers and nutritionists and trained for several months. Although I did finish that race (and even placed 3rd in my age group), it made me hate running. I swore that I would never run again.
Fast forward a few years and I found myself training for a half-marathon. This time, though, I was smarter about it. I gave myself plenty of training time and downloaded a schedule for first-time half-marathoners. I made it all the way to the 10 mile training mark and then I re-injured the same foot that I had broken in the Army and had to have surgery.
"That's it," I told myself. "I am just not meant to be a runner. I hated the marathon and clearly couldn't finish training for the half."
I went through several months of crutches and strengthening my foot. I joined a gym and took classes, lifted weights, and did the eliptical.
One day I said, "I guess I'll just try the treadmill for a bit." Wouldn't you know it? I ran 2 miles right off the bat. Then, 3 miles and then 4.
Until . . .
I developed a stress fracture in the same old Army foot.
"I am DONE running," I told Scott. "I guess I'm just not meant to be a runner."
"Uh-huh," he said to me.
So, what happened next . . . this Spring as soon as it got nice, you got it, back to running. This time, though, I have only ran in a couple of 5K's and haven't committed to anything longer than that. I really want to do the St. Louis Inaugural Rock-n-Roll marathon (the half) but with my track record, I am afraid to sign up for it and then not be able to do it.
I can tell you that I really do not like to run and that is not a lie. What I DO like, though, is how I feel when I am done with the run. I'm not talking about the "runner's high" that you hear about. I'm talking about how proud I feel of myself that I actually did it. I get the same feeling if I just run 2 miles or 5 miles. I just feel proud of myself that even though I can't run fast, I don't breathe right, and I'm sure that I have horrible posture, at least I did it.
I saw this posted on one of the blogs (I can't for the life of me figure out who it was--comment and let me know if it was you!!) and I loved it.
How motivating is that? I think I'm just going to repeat this to myself the next time I'm running a 11+ minute mile.