Last month I etched my future running goals in stone [2020 marathon!!]. Now I’m re-thinking how I want to achieve my goals. I had assumed that after two pregnancies, my competitive running days were done. I thought I would never again set a new personal record in any race distance.
What I have learned this past year is that I am stronger than ever. I have finally figured out my nutrition and lost the few extra pounds that had been hanging out around my midsection for most of the 21st century. I am focused and ready to take on a challenge and push my limits.
The Little One that Runs
Did you know that I started a running program in grade 2 in order to enter a single cross country race against grade 4 and 5 kids? I wanted to be a runner since then and from grade 2 to grade 11, I was constantly in training mode. In my grade 6 public speaking competition I spoke about my love for running and said, “I used to run for fun, but now I run competitively.” That line cracks me up since it was written by an 11 year old!
I had a gift for running and I used it. By the time I was 15 I was getting confused as my body was changing and my times were plateauing. It was really difficult physically and mentally to go through intense training schedules without yielding results. The day I sought permission from myself and others to quit competitive running was a life changing day. It was March 2, 2001 and while driving to a friend’s house a big red Dodge truck ran a stop sign and smashed up my vehicle. I was taken to hospital and x-rayed all over and was extremely fortunate that my injuries weren’t more severe. A fractured pelvis was enough to end my high school running days. I limped away from the sport I had devoted most of my life to and found new interests.
My Next Chapter
If you met me in university you probably didn’t even know I was once a runner. After I graduated from university and found a job that numbed my brain, I was looking to pursue a hobby. My mom suggested we run a half marathon together and since I’d never run that far I decided to give it a shot. During this training we discovered the Nike Women’s Marathon in San Fran – the one with Tiffany necklaces for finisher’s medals – and we registered. I did my first half in February and another half with a group of friends and a “really nice guy” [aka my future boyfriend/husband] in June. Then 4 months later I ran my first marathon. I finished in exactly 4 hours and not the highly coveted 3:59. I assumed my speed was gone or it didn’t transfer to half marathon and above distances.
My race times didn’t bother me since I was reunited with my love of running. I ran for fun and never pushed myself in my training over the past decade.
Reigniting My Fire
I blame my mother for reigniting my competitive side. She offered to pick me up for a 5k race this summer and I went along according to her plan. Turns out she mixed up the race’s start time. As we walked up to the race we noticed runners already on the course. The timing officials told us to start and our chips would give us our time so we did.
The race had begun 6 minutes earlier and we jumped right in. Starting a race late is ridiculously motivating – you probably won’t get passed by ANYONE. I just pushed hard and started to catch people and then catch some more people. I overheard some women say “she must have been in the washroom at the start” which made me laugh. This was not a gastro-intestinal issue, it was a listening to my mother issue! I ended up finishing the race in 22 minutes according to my watch. I hadn’t run a time like that in years.
This result made me alter my training plan for my half marathon in September. I added 4 new speed workouts to my training. That’s it, just 4 extra workouts over the course of a month. This resulted in me improving my half marathon time by 9 minutes from 4 months earlier! Next up was a 10km race where I was able to squeeze in 2 more speed workouts before race day. I improved my 10km time to 45 minutes. This is only 2 minutes slower than a time I’d run in high school.
In addition to feeling strong, I am encouraged by the fact my average heart rate keeps DROPPING with each race I’ve run this year. I’m excited and I want to train hard and push myself to be my best.
Inspiration and the Runner’s High
I never liked how I walked away from the sport of running. I’ve always felt like my legs still had some speed left in them.
Even a couple weeks after my little race victory I’m still coasting on my runner’s high. I’ve got some big goals in the works that I’ll share with you next week.
Thanks for Reading!
Thanks for reading about my running history and how I’m ready to get back to the start line again. I think this will help you understand some of the bigger goals that I’m going to be striving for in the years ahead.
Let me know your thoughts on running in the comments below. Is it fun, torture, or just a warm up at the gym to you?
Mouse House Mom