I ran my first race (a 5k) in 2012. The year prior to that first race, I had decided to start running for the sole reason of: I didn’t think I could.
I started off slow (and quite a few pounds heavier). I would run/walk a few times a week and I gradually got better as I stayed committed to this new routine. I would mentally fight with myself to keep going, to remain committed. It was hard. I had to prove to myself that I could do this.
After a year of begrudgingly remaining consistent with my running routine, I felt like I was at a stand still and I needed motivation – so, I registered for a race to give myself that “oomph” I needed.
After that first taste of race adrenaline, I was hooked. I was (and still am) by no means a fast runner. But, being a part of that race atmosphere, pushing myself to my limit, crossing the finish line with nothing left… oh man, I wanted more.
I continued to push and better myself and I lost those extra pounds. I invested in a really good pair of running shoes (which make ALL the difference!), I incorporated workouts that would help me with my running, and I became obsessed. A bit too much, actually. I would get antsy and edgy if I missed a run or a workout, I would miss out on family time to get a run in. I knew this wasn’t good, so I scaled back, but eventually stopped running.
Fast forward a running-less 6 months later, I was getting the itch again. This time, I knew I could do it. So, I set the bar even higher: I registered for a half marathon. I also knew that I had to be less selfish in the way I was going to train for it. With 6 months to train, I made a schedule for myself that would not interfere with family time.
While my daughter was at track practice a few days a week, I ran around the track and did sprints. I would (and still do) go for a run during my lunch break at work. For my long runs, I would get up before the sun on the weekend, and while my family was sleeping, I would knock out 8-12 miles and be home before they woke up.
My goal for my first half marathon was to finish in 2 hours and 30 minutes. After a beautiful, and at times, mentally tough 13.1 miles, I finished in 2 hours and 10 minutes – way under my goal. I was beyond thrilled with myself!
After that experience, I knew I wanted to do more long-distance races, so I immediately signed up for another half marathon just a month apart from my first. And then I got injured and could not participate.
I had an over-training injury that was remedied with physical therapy and no running. I eased myself back into a smarter running routine to ensure I would not get injured again.
Soon after, I discovered the world of trail running. My adventurous spirit and my love of running were combined in my first trail race. Running through the woods, up and down hills, jumping over roots, splashing my way across muddy ruts and rivers – this was everything I loved rolled into one. The trail race atmosphere is completely different than road racing – it’s much more laid back, not nearly as competitive, and it’s normal for people to have full on conversations while running next to each other through the woods. I have met some pretty awesome people this way!
I have ran in quite a few different races – numerous local 5ks, an icy 10k on New Year’s outside of Seattle, many trail half marathons, and a 16-mile race through the woods. I have busted my butt by tripping over roots, I’ve gotten (temporarily) lost, and I’ve had to swim across a river with a “Beware of Alligators” sign because it was part of the race course. Each trail race is an adventure of its own.
I have come a long way since the beginning of my running journey, and all because I thought I couldn’t do it.
Just for pure entertainment, check out my BEST race photo: