Thursday, January 20, 2011

April 26, -Run Run Run

This weekend was my one year running anniversary. One year ago I laced up some sneakers and headed out the front door on my very first run (or my first attempt at a run!) I had been exercising regularly for four months at that point and had lost over 20lbs, and decided running would be a good form of exercise to try.
That first day of running I went on a 2.2 mile "loop" around the block. I was able to run just over a mile before I had to stop and walk for a minute. Then on the gentle uphill back home, I had to stop and walk for a few seconds one more time before running the rest of the way home. I didn't time myself that day, but I know I was slow. My chest hurt, my legs hurt and having to walk twice in two miles left me feeling like a failure... and yet... something inside me clicked. Somehow, I was hooked.
At first I ran every other day. The first goal I set for myself was to run that 2.2 miles without stopping. I remember the first time that I did (about two weeks after my first attempt) I felt like I had finished a marathon. I was so excited! After that day, I don't stop to walk on a run. I just keep on going!
I found a 3 mile loop and started running that, and soon I found that I was running five or six days a week. I got some good running shoes and clothes. I ran a 5K and a 10K. I ordered a running magazine (and thoroughly enjoy reading it!) I found myself craving that running time every day, and finding huge benefits emotionally (burns stress, clears my mind, gives me energy, helps me focus, helps me feel good about myself... basically "recharges" me), along with the physical benefits.
When Noah came home I was worried I wouldn't be able to find the time to run, but I did, even though between his schedule and the winter weather I was often on a treadmill instead of outside. I started adding speed work outs and inclines to my regular runs and continued to slowly add to my mileage and increase my speed.
I have missed very few days of running in the past year... I missed some days that I was at the hospital with Noah and a week over the holidays when we had a house full of people here...besides that, I have run six days a week every week. I have been lucky, and since I got my good running shoes (love my Brooks!) I haven't had any injuries.
Now I am running a minimum of 30 miles a week. Mondays-Fridays I usually run five miles (which I can do easily in 45 minutes) and on Saturdays I go for a longer run.  A lot of days my run is the only time I have to myself and one of the only things I do for myself. I crave it!
It feels really good to think that I am in better shape now than I have been since high school. In Dec. 2008, when I decided to make some changes to my lifestyle to be healthier, I never (NEVER) imagined I would be a runner. I started exercising regularly and eating better (smaller portions, healthier choices, etc). I did not want to diet, I just wanted to live healthier. I was actually surprised when the weight started coming off, and when people asked me how much I wanted to lose I would say that I wasn't dieting, I was just exercising and eating better, and I figured that sooner or later my weight would even out at a healthy weight for me. By early September I had lost 52lbs, and that is where my weight has stayed since then. I went from a size 16/18 to a size 6/8 and I feel super.
Running has become not only my exercise but my hobby and a passion. I am super excited to run in the Ragnar Relay in June and am planning on a half marathon this year as well. Some days it is hard to find the time to run. Some days running is just hard. But I am always glad that I did it when I finish a run and it is always worth the effort. I hope that I am counting "running anniversaries" for many years to come. :)

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