My running story
I always loved to run as a kid. And I was fast then. I'd win all of the field day competitions and beat the boys. But for some reason, I never really pursued running competitively when I was young, although I think I'd have been pretty good at it if I had.
In fact, it took years into adulthood for me to embrace running, largely because I developed asthma (and it wasn't well controlled) when I was about 13 and it made running hard. I distinctly remember having asthma attacks while trying to run the mile in gym class. Even though I played other sports, running outside was my asthma's nemesis.
And my current journey hasn't always been easy and it hasn't always been fun, but it's been quite an experience. I've dealt with extreme asthma and allergy issues, low iron and Vitamin D deficiency, and I ran through pregnancy.
In May 2012, after nearly a decade of talking about wanting to run, I finally got off the couch and did it. I was 32. And on that first run, I went out and ran 3 miles straight (no stopping and walking). I largely credit the two months of bootcamp (that included running loops throughout the workouts) plus a year of a elliptical training to the fact that I could go out and run that far right off the bat.
I ran my first 5K in June 2012 and finished in 26:51. And from that, I was hooked on racing. I immediately signed up for a local running group to train for a marathon (all in!), and in the process of training, ran my first 10K and half marathon plus a few more 5Ks. I ran that marathon in November 2012 on not nearly enough training (averaging about 18 miles per week?!). But I survived and loved the experience, and maybe I'll do it again some day.
I was off and running (literally) to a great start - in less than a year I ran two sub-2 hour half marathons, a sub-24 minute 5K, and a sub-50 minute 10K. Along the way I had a few age group wins and placements, and one 2nd female overall (it was a small race).
Key points in my journey
After that great start, I ran into several issues. But that's running, right? Peaks and valleys. Highs and lows.
In fall 2013, right after that 10K PR, I got pregnant. I ran through pregnancy, which was quite an unexpected journey, but a good one, nonetheless.
In spring 2015, right after I felt like I had come back from pregnancy and regained my speed and endurance, I got hit with some major asthma and allergy problems, along with crazy sleep deprivation from an infant who would not sleep (for 10 months).
Once the sleep issues let up, that's when the asthma and allergy issues were compounded by low iron and Vitamin D deficiency in 2016 and early 2017.
And now, I think most of those issues are starting to clear up (thanks to allergy shots, supplements, and better nutrition), so I'm attempting to get my groove back - one step, one mile at a time.
Since I've only been running for about 5 years with most of that time spent either pregnant or sick, I'd like to think my runway for speed gains is still pretty long. When I first started running, my easy pace was somewhere around 9:45. Since then, in 5 years time, I've only moved to somewhere in the neighborhood of an 8:30 pace. So I think (especially given the health circumstances that held me back), I still have some significant speed increases in me.
And now that I'm back to training, I'm starting to feel more confident about setting goals.
Here's what I'm thinking for 2017:
- Rebuild my mileage and get in at least 5 runs per week
- Lose that little bit of weight I gained while I wasn't unable to train (but still ate I was)
- By August, be ready to train hard for a half marathon
- By December, run a sub-1:45 half marathon
Hopefully, I'll also see some PRs in shorter distances as well, but I've got my eye on the Kiawah Half Marathon in December as my goal race and PR attempt. That should give me plenty of time to rebuild, train, and get faster.