My road to running

June 6, 2012

According to today is National Running Day! So in honor of said day, I’d love to share how it is I’ve slowly taken to running.

Maintaining running schedules, fitness and healthy lifestyles isn’t always easy, no matter how much we enjoy doing it.  I used to read blogs or look at people and think “man, they have it all figured out! Why is it so easy for them?”.  But I’m slowly realizing that its a lot of dedication and hard work and they probably have days that they struggle just like me.

I’m not a natural runner.  I played softball in highschool and considered myself a sprinter at best.  I was the one who complained about running a mile for gym class.  In college I’d give it a few half assed attempts and never really stick with it.  Prompting my XC running roommate to give me the “sure you are” look when I’d say i’m going out for a run.  Eventually, I stopped pretending altogether. I wasn’t overweight, but I was certainly out of shape.  While I wouldn’t say I had gained the freshman 15, I was definitely at my heaviest weight.

And my habits weren’t exactly screaming “healthy!” either…

Yes, yes that is icing in a tube.

After college, I moved on to graduate school and had yet to make any real time for fitness.    I enjoyed rockclimbing with friends, but no true forms of cardio.

But in the four years I was in school, I started learning how to cook and was exposed to veggies and fruits I wasn’t used to eating.  I dabbled at the gym but had yet to make a steady appearance.  But I did the impossible and graduated with my PhD after 4 stressful and long years.

Once I graduated I moved in with Brandon here in Baltimore.  I started to read up on healthy cooking, fitness and running blogs.  I had friends who truly motivated me to get into the gym at 8 pm rather than sit around and do nothing – and I finally started to take a good look at the photos of me and think “that’s not how I want my arms to look” or to not have to worry about the angle a photo was taken from.  So Brandon and I started to take bike rides together and then this “I’m not a runner” headed off to the gym.  The elliptical was ok for awhile, but strangely enough, hurt my knees and definitely didn’t give me the cardio I was hoping for.  After continuing to read blogs like daily garnish and ohsheglows “cover to cover” so to speak, I decided to give running a shot.  One well timed comment about my slow pace times was enough to seal the deal and I was determined to run and be good at it.  I started the blog in October while at the same time signing up for my first 5k.  A seemingly unachievable distance! 3.1 miles! At one time!?

But the interesting thing to me, was that I was physically able to run those 3 miles without realizing it, I just never learned to push myself or care.  I started paying more attention to what I ate and adopted a vegetarian diet.  Before I had even finished my first 5k.

I signed up for a 10k race for a month later.  I figured I’d call it quits at 5 miles and be done.

But by then, the training/running bug had got me.  I liked training and I liked working hard. Most of all, I loved the results.  So I did the unthinkable.  I signed up for a half marathon.  My first, my longest.  To complement the training schedule, I joined a gym for the group classes and starting lifting on a regular basis for muscle definition.  I started incorporating more and more Vegan meals into my diet.  It would be a month before my wedding, but I was confident I could do it and plan a wedding at the same time.

I did.


And now, here I am, still not even a year into running consistently and I’ve started my training for a full marathon.  Something I didn’t even know was on my bucket list of things to do in life, but in training – I realized it was.  I don’t know if I’ll run another marathon after that – but I’ve learned enough to never say never!  I enjoy racing and I enjoy running and I certainly enjoy the visible signs of improvement.

I’ve definitely had my ups and downs of running, weeks of bad runs and negative thoughts, that are totally and 100% erased by one good run.  Its a constant ebb and flow for me, fighting with myself to get out the door, fighting with my muscles, my stomach, my lack of self-confidence.  But for each time I get out the door and start running, for each distance I check off the list and solo gym trip I make, I’m gaining more than just physical fitness.  I’m becoming a stronger and healthier person mentally.  More confident in my abilities to do things and go places and to push.  I’m starting to learn what it means to have a strong work ethic.   And suddenly i’ve become so interested in what i’m eating, how i’m eating it – how to prepare and learning so many new flavors, foods and cooking techniques, its been amazing.  Suddenly I’m able to really understand how a food will make my body feel.

So my friends, its national running day and now you know my story.   What a perfect day to start running if you never have, to get back into running if you’ve for some reason stopped or just to go out for an enjoyable run, because you can.

Check out the link for some running tips and motivation to get you started!

See you out there!




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