I started running exactly three months and two days ago. My background in running was non-existent. A mere handful of times I would read an email where my friend Monica talked about taking a run the night before, or I'd watch my sister head out into the elements, or I'd listen to my stepdad talk about his running injuries, and for whatever reason, I'd get all inspired and beam: I'M gonna run too!!! Only I had no idea what I was doing, so I'd run for five minutes, feel like I was going to throw up and pass out on the sidewalk, and vow that I just wasn't cut out for the sport...only to repeat the same process again a year later. I told people I had exercise-induced asthma. I said I just didn't like it, that it was boring. I made up all sorts of excuses.
But after my sister and stepdad ran the Lakefront Discovery run last year, a seed was planted. I saw all the runners and their fans, and while I was excited to cheer on my sister's first 5K, I admit, I was jealous. I wanted people to cheer for me too! And to feel that sense of accomplishment crossing the finish line. This was last October.
Five months later I met a guy who ran in all kinds of races, half marathons even. Yeah yeah, we were dating, and I kinda wanted to impress him. Once the decision was made that I was GOING to run no matter what--as with the onset of many of my hobbies--it came on quick and it came on strong. And I researched the hell out of running all day. I found a great place to buy shoes. I looked into breathing tricks for those with asthma. But, most importantly, I found a specific schedule: My Running Bible. I seriously could not have come this far so fast if it weren't for this simple little table. Think about it. The first week all you have to do is be able to run ONE minute straight. One on/one off, for a quick and easy 14 minutes. Well, I say "quick and easy" now. In all honestly? I was still a little freaked out. But the whole thing wasn't so daunting that I felt like I couldn't handle it. And once I completed my first 14 minute run/walk, I was hooked. It felt so good to be outside and soak up that energy. I felt that I really could DO this thing!
And onward and upward I went. I remember heading into Week 3, and already feeling the pain. I remember thinking "run for three minutes straight???" yet I did it. I remember halfway through Week 6 I decided to repeat the whole week over because I struggled so much. Struggled to run six minutes straight. But I pushed through. I pushed through those pesky side stitches where your entire abdomen feels like it's being stabbed by a million knives. I didn't stop. I pushed through burning shins. I didn't stop. I pushed through my knee feeling like it was crumbling into a billion bone bits. Ok I stopped to heal up a bit :) but I didn't stop mid-run. That's the trick of my Running Bible. I was so determined to follow it so strictly that once I started running for that interval, unless my "walking minute" came up, I would not stop. And then you'll get days like The Perfect Run when you truly realize how much you love the sport. And why you HAVE bad days in the first place. They make the good days feel that much better!
Three months and two days later, here I am. I have officially completed the first 10 Week stage of my "Running Bible" table. I can run 5K straight with no major problems. And last night I ran 44 minutes straight through. 4.5 miles. Let me break it down for you: running for one minute straight is, what, like a tiny tenth of a mile? And three months later I can run 4.5 miles straight through? Ok ok, I'm not gushing on and on here for sake of bragging, honest. I'm gushing on and on here because if I can do it, YOU can do it!! Maybe you'll be able to run one mile straight in 3 months, maybe you'll run ten miles...that part doesn't matter, what matters is that you'll see actual results. 90 days is nothing. It goes so fast, you won't even see the time pass! And to go from -there- to -here-...it's just gives you so much motivation to keep it up. And that's exactly why sticking to a schedule is so important. There really was no room for frustration or discouragement. Especially if you ARE willing to be a touch flexible. Like repeating weeks when you don't feel like you're ready for the next one, OR taking weeks off for injuries or illness, which I did at least three times!
In conclusion!! All this post is really meant to be is simple motivation. Motivation for those of you who have entertained the idea of taking up running. Even very, very deep down, where you won't even admit it to yourself (like me!) If there's just a tiny spark, like the soft, dull glow of a piece of kindling in a campfire that's just ready to rage...I urge you to take advantage of that! Sure there will be good days and horrible days, but in the end, you'll always be proud of yourself for doing something you never thought you'd do.
This is also motivation for all you already-runners out there! KEEP IT UP and know that you are ALL 100% inspirations to the rest of us. Without you, we'd be nowhere. Running in place with no destination. And finally, to all you ex-runners out there who have retired your shoes and safety pins: you've inspired plenty of us as well. Plus you have an abundance of words of wisdom to provide to us for the rest of our days. You are true veterans.
Ok that's all I got. I apologize for the blathering on :) Next up for me is training for the goal that started this whole thing, Al's Run 8K. Aka: Run for an hour straight through. And who knows where I'll go from there?? I never ONCE in my life thought I'd actually be a runner...not once. And to be one? It's an amazing feeling.