Thursday, September 19, 2013

My Running Story

I want to tell you my running story.  It's really my fitness/get my body back/best shape of my life story.

Before kids I worked out in gyms occasionally.  Usually just went to "hangout" while Jacob worked out.  Maybe get on the elliptical for 15-20 minutes, do a few machines.  That's about it.  After I delivered Bella, my post baby body grossed me out bad.  I had a newborn. Who was going to watch Bella while I exercised?  I felt selfish at the time for even wanting to leave her while I went to the gym. So I put her in the stroller and walked the neighborhood.  I walked for a couple months pushing my chunky infant.  I hit a point where I wasn't even breathing hard.  I felt like I wasn't getting much out of my walks anymore. day on my walk, I has this crazy idea to run to the next driveway.  For that whole walk, I ran to one driveway, walked to the next, ran to the next driveway.  Poor Bella was probably thinking 'what's wrong with this engine?'  Then my endurance was improving slightly, I remember going 2 driveways/walking one.  Then I remember the day I ran all the way to the end of my road without stopping (0.7 mile).  I was so proud of myself!  Then I finally, and I mean months after starting, I finally made it an entire mile without stopping!  I was about to die.  But I was so happy!

Around that time, {Sept 2010} my friends were signing up to do some races, so I joined them.  My very 1st race was  an 8K to raise money for the Grist Mill where I grew up.  This was important to me because Jacob's grandparents were very dedicated to preserving the history of the mill.
We got matching tanks, laced up and ran.  Well I ended up walking a LARGE portion, but I did it!  I finished! 
Oh WOW, I was so...fluffy.  I hate sharing this with yall but it's ok, because it is part of my journey.  

The next month I signed up for another 8K.  It was tough.  But again I finished!  I was well aware that I was a very slow runner.  But I was pushing myself.  Sweating like a beast, I knew I was getting a good workout in.  
For the next 6 months I ran some.  Meaning maybe 3 times a week, then maybe 3 times a month.  I usually pushed Bella every time I ran.   I sometimes wonder if that "trained" my body to be slower.  I ran at a 12:00-14:00 min/mile pace.  I told y'all: VERY SLOW.  But I reminded myself often...
Again, my friends wanted to do a half marathon, I naively agreed.  Keep in mind I was one of the youngest one in my group.  You'd think I would not be struggling so.  When we all ran together... I was always, 100% of the time, LAST when we all trained together.  It bothered me, but I didn't want to give up.  So I pushed, panted and struggled as I followed them just trying to keep them in my sights when we would do long runs on the weekends. One weekend we did 8 miles, it was the furthest I had ever run.  It took me a very long 1 hour & 53 minutes.  Little did I know that would be my last run until the race.  A few days later, I found out I was pregnant!  I was overjoyed & filled with excitement and joy!  But I was in a big dilemma.  I had committed to running this half.  I had convinced my best friend to do it with me...the same best friend who had been struggling with infertility for years.  I couldn't back out on her.  So I kept my secret.  Talked to my OB, who gave me the green light.  In April 2011, I survived my 1st half-marathon.  I was embarrassingly slow.  It hurt.  I wanted to vomit the entire time.  But for 3 hours and 13 minutes I put one foot in front of the other and I just kept moving forward.  It felt like every person 50 pounds heavier than me and any person over 60 years old was speed walking past me as I was doing this slow jogging motion, I realized I was barely moving.  As soon as I rounded that turn and saw the finish line, my legs would not move any faster, but I couldn't help but to smile~I was so happy I could finally stop.

After that race I stopped running.  I gained 30 pounds.  I delivered our lovely Lucy.  I didn't lose all the weight. In May of 2012, I tore the timer tag off my shoes from the half marathon more that a year later and I ran the neighborhood.   It took me 43 minutes to run 3 miles, but it was a start.  For the rest of 2012, I ran occasionally maintaining a 12-13 min/mile pace.
Then 2013 came.  I had finally, after 2 years ~ hit my goal weight.  It felt amazing.  I so desperately wanted to maintain it.  To keep my healthier lifestyle.  So I stuck with what was working for me, except I kicked it up.  I worked harder, ran regularly.  For the 1st time since I started running...I saw improvement in my pace.  Far from fast, but improvement!  I was now running a 10-11 min/mile pace!!!  Mostly 3 mile runs, but sometimes I would do a 5 or 6 miler.  It felt so good to be improving!!

I joined a big group of my friends in doing the relay during the Mercedes Marathon in February 2013.  I did a 6-mile leg and this amazing thing happened...I finished with a 9:55 min/mile pace!!!  I was shocked and so happy.  I had never in my entire life done faster than a 10:40.  I was so inspired to keep up the good work and continue improving.  I ran at least 3 days/week.  April 22 was the day I saw 8:53 min/mile pace, it was only for 1.5 mile, but I'm claiming it!  I started running in the mornings before work.  For a long while I ran 5 days/wk.  I've maintained a 9:30-10 min/mile pace.  I am proud of that pace, even though to some it is slow.  I know my journey and for me it is improvement.  I'll take that as a little victory!
When Jennifer and I started discussing doing the Talladega Half, I wanted to.  I wanted to because I knew I could do so much better.  I was more prepared.  Same course, but I will be a different person as I'm out running on that race track.  So we signed up and started training 10 weeks ago.  
I must admit on our long runs, I thought several times, I don't even like running, but...
In my head over and over and over I tell myself...

Here I am just a few days away from my 2nd half-marathon.  I am ready to BLOW MY PREVIOUS TIME AWAY!  My goal is to cut off an entire hour and finish in 2 hours 13 minutes. That is a stretch and I am not too confident that I can do that.  I think a 2 hours 30 minutes is a more realistic goal.  I would be very proud of that.  

This running story is not ending here....

To be continued...

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Kristin F. said...

I'm so proud of you, Meg!! I can't wait to hear how great you do this weekend :).

Lulu said...

Great post, Megan! I have a feeling you will blow 2:13 out of the water; you can do it!

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