I am a runner.

I am a runner.

“I always thought of running as just dancing forward.” – Tom Hiddleston

Dirty legs after a run through Rock Creek Park
Dirty legs after a run through Rock Creek Park

Like most runners, I started running (for the sake of running) in high school.  Running has been around me as long as I can remember.  My dad ran marathons when I was very young, and they had let us participate in the events’ associated children’s fun runs (on the order of 1km). To be honest, I was too young to actually remember these events. And running was a tool for sport (namely, soccer) rather than a sport in and of itself.

In high school, I started running because I come from a family of runners.  My grandfather ran, my dad ran, my sister ran, so I would run too. I wasn’t very good at running, but I joined cross country and subsequently track.  Since I wasn’t very fast, I ran distance for track, the 1600m & the 3200m races.  It was a way to stay in shape for cross country during the spring.  We followed a very traditional training regimen: run long, run slow. Build a base. Add in some long intervals and form drills; eat your weight in spaghetti the night before a race; crosstraining was doing some ab or hip work.  That is how you train for running (so I thought back then).  For me, this was a recipe for disaster.  I have historically had an amazing ability to push through any physical stress without even noticing pain. Sounds cool, right? WRONG!  Poor form, no cross-training, and over-training ultimately lead to multiple stress fractures that I could barely even walk.  Needless to say, this injury ended my running career as a student.

In the next several years, finishing out high school and throughout college, I was pretty inactive.  I’ve always had an ‘anti-jock’ type attitude.  (Rude awakening, when several years later I realize that I am a jock!) Then, early in grad school, my research group signed up as a team to run a 5k.  Given that I was a runner before, I had high expectations for myself.  I don’t recall my precise time, but lets say it was around 40 minutes to complete.  I couldn’t believe how slow I was!  Especially since by now, I was about 20# lighter than my slow-but-not-that-slow high school self.  I decided to improve.  I lived in a great place for running too.

Beachside trail that runs into UCSB campus Image credit: Tisha Bohr http://tishabohr.com/?page_id=80

So, with no plan in mind, I started to run. Again.  Shaving minutes off of my 5k time, and increasing distance until I was ready to run a half marathon.  Around this time (2007 or so), I was google-chatting with a new acquaintance/friend and running came up.  I stupidly wrote something to the effect of, “I think I want to run a marathon. Want to run it with me?”  And so was born one of my strongest relationships to date, my sister in sport.  Not knowing any better, we found a marathon training plan, based on long slow distance, and added in the occasional ab routine.  Then several months later, we each shuffled across the finish line.  One worse than the other, but that one was in love.  I on the other hand, decided never again.

Following the marathon, I decided to try something else new.  I bought a road bike, but eventually ended up with a pair of roller skates and diverted into roller derby (this story will come in another post).  Running then faded into the background.  I was still very active, so I would participate in a local 5k every now and again.  Somehow I would even take over a bib every so often if someone dropped out of a 1/2 marathon. 2015 is the first year since that time that I’m not preoccupied by roller derby, and have had some consistent running patterns for the past 6 months.

One of my goals for this year is to run a PR 1/2 marathon, specifically a time faster than correlating to BQ pace for my division (1:45:00).  Now that 2015 is half way over and my training is sporadic at best, I have decided an October or November race would be ideal.  The problem is, I am continuously fighting injury (shin splints- the worst!) again.  I am cross training, and not following a running routine, but run when I feel like it (which apparently can be too much). I’ve decided to follow Budd Coates 14-day base training and will develop a 1/2 marathon training plan for myself (probably with inputs from Budd Coates, Nike training, and Breaking Muscle). I’ve signed up for the Nike Women’s 1/2 Marathon SF random draw with my Sisters in Sport.  This week is the lottery.  Training is about to get real!

My running philosophy is constantly changing.  This training season, I am focusing on form and enjoying the journey.  The views aren’t as good in DC, but I have a wonderful new training partner who forces me to focus.  His name is Badger and he loves to run with me!

2015-07-03 09.33.36

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