Recently I have come across some of my friends and co-workers that tell me they would like to get to where I am with running. Well, I will tell you it doesn’t happen over night. I wasn’t born a runner and I never thought I would be running marathons for the fun of it. I think sharing my running history and explaining where and how I started will help and maybe give you all some inspiration.
I was always active growing up, playing soccer pretty much year round. When I went to college I would occasionally go to the gym and I tried going to yoga classes, but nothing really stuck. After college I moved to Florida (2009) to work for Disney World. It was at the happiest place on earth that I saw so many people gathering to run races. At the time I didn’t even know what the distance of a half marathon (13.1) or heck even a 5k (3.1) was. But I thought if these people were doing it I sure could too.
The first race I ever signed up for was Race the Taste 3k (this race doesn’t even exist anymore). Who pays money to run a 3k is what I’m thinking now! 1.8 miles and I was hooked. Next a 5k. And then finally I was jumping in feet first to run a half marathon. I had no clue what I was doing, no proper running knowledge, no idea how to fuel myself or train for those 13.1 glorious miles! I was able to convince my Mom to train for this race too and she would join me to run in Florida (while she trained in NJ). All in all I would say our first race was not a complete disaster (we actually had a pretty decent time), but what we didn’t know was that this would spark something for us both to bond over.
After that first half marathon was over I was starting to realize that running was something I really loved. It gave me time to clear my head and focus on myself. When I went on a run it was sort of like giving my mind a time out, I wouldn’t think about anything else I had going on, just running. My Mother and I continued to train separately and meet up for races. We would read all the running magazines we could get our hands on and try different running techniques, gear, and food. It has been trial and error from the beginning. Some people may think running must be a “cheap” sport to get involved in, you just need yourself, some sneakers, and shorts and t shirt. Think again my friends. I do not recommend anyone just running in any old sneakers you have lying around the house. A good running shoe can set you back anywhere from $100-150 easy. If you are putting the miles on them, they need replacing every 6-8 months. Then you have your running gear: running shorts, compression tights, sports bras (for the ladies), sweat wicking tops, hats, sunglasses, the list could go on. I must say there are more options now on different price point levels then when I started running. Shout out to Old Navy who has some really fun active wear and they always have some great sales!
We will save a post about my favorite gear for another day, but lets get back to how things started to transpire with my running. Eventually I feel like I formed a running habit, in the best way possible, I wanted to always get a run in. I could see the physical changes in my body, I felt stronger than ever and mentally and emotionally it was a great outlet. Every time I signed up for a race I had a new time to beat. I was challenging myself and no one else. It was only a matter of time, after years of running 5ks, 10ks, 10 milers, and so many half marathons I could no longer keep track of, I felt it was the time to run a marathon. Ofcourse I had lots of convincing to do to get my Mom to sign up with me. My thoughts, it was natural progression and mentally I was prepared to take on the challenge. After finally moving back to the Philadelphia area I decided I wanted to add in road biking to help to cross train for racing. My Uncle was a great help in getting my Mother and I started. He took me to a mom and pop bike shop in Jersey to check out their gear. Now we are two years in biking and training for our first triathlon. My Mom is joining me on Saturday for her first ever swim lesson with my coach! Exciting!!!!
Eight years after we started running and we are set to compete in our first triathlon. Looking back there are things I would have done differently, but I really did not know better. I have learned through my mistakes, but I wouldn’t have it any other way. One thing running has taught me: I am stronger and more capable than I ever thought possible, physically and mentally. Progress not perfection.
Run your heart out!