My progress, struggles, and drive to run a marathon before I turn 25.
Today officially marks one year of running for me.
Sure, I had gone out and attempted a run every now and then. For years I had envied runners whenever I saw them. I dreamed about being able to be one of them. I would go out, run blindly, go home tired, sore, winded, and quit. A year ago today that all changed. I made a commitment to myself and stuck with it.
Here are my reflections on my first official year of running.
A year ago I had a lot of stress, anxiety, and just wasn’t happy with myself overall. My stress was so bad that I was grinding my teeth at night. After spraining my jaw twice, I paid a visit to the dentist and was fitted for a mouth piece. But the grinding continued. My anxiety was so bad that I had noticeable hand tremors.
When I first started running, I went out five days a week. I ran the same loop around the Bay with Duke. I can’t name just one thing that captivated me. It was the fresh air and sunshine, the beautiful scenery, my first runner’s high. The biggest impact was the running community itself.
I started out running while hang my head and staring at my feet as I ran. Eventually I worked up the courage and started to look up. When I did, I noticed every runner that passed by would smile and wave. It was so encouraging, seeing all these athletic people, people way above me who were hardly breaking a sweat, taking the energy and effort to smile and wave at me.
Soon, I looked forward to my run every day. I remember feeling the accomplishment of running one mile without stopping — my mind was blown when I ran two miles without stopping! I felt incredible. I could run forever. I even made a goal to run a FULL marathon before I turn 25. I felt I could do it.
And then I injured myself. Badly.
It happened on one of those runs around the Bay. I felt like someone had cut the tendon on the outer side of my left knee. My leg immediately buckled. I’ve broken my foot before, but I had never felt pain like I did then. I managed to make it home and thought I would sleep it off. I didn’t. Two days later, the pain subsided. So I went for another run.
Sure enough, it hit me again. The pain was worse this time.
I didn’t want to go to the doctor. I was scared of what they might tell me. I had just fallen in love with running, I didn’t want to stop now. Nothing would stop me now — would it?
After that second episode and a few days of no improvement, I finally made the decision to go to the doctor. I had partially torn my left hamstring tendon. He put a brace on my knee and said what I had feared.
"You shouldn’t run for one to three months."
I held my emotions back until I got back to my car. When I was safely inside, I broke down. I sobbed by myself in the parking lot. I had found such joy and lost it. My fiance held me and comforted me for days. What if I had lost it? If I stopped running now, maybe I would never find that love again. Maybe I’d go back to sitting around and hating exercise. Maybe I wasn’t meant to be a runner anyways, they were in a league all of their own. What was I thinking? The magnitude of what I had lost hit me hard.
I spent six weeks in physical therapy. My therapist was shocked at how badly I had hurt myself. She rehabilitated me. She taught me how to run with proper technique. She told me that I could run a 10k! Most important of all, she had no doubt that I could accomplish my goal of running a full marathon before 25.
There it was. Hope.
After finishing physical therapy, I was slow to start running again. I really paid attention to my form, I went and was fitted for the right running shoes, I started a proper training program.
Now here I am, one year after my official running streak began. I’ve completed more 5k races than I can name off the top of my head and one 10k. I just ran 7.14 miles. Next weekend I run a 10k and a 5k back to back. The following weekend, another 10k. And a month from now, I’m running my first half marathon.
When I was knocked down by injury, I couldn’t have even dreamed I would be where I am today. I thought I was a failure, done for good. Sure, I still have bad days where one mile feels impossible… but I also have incredible days where I feel like I can run forever.
Since I started running, I’ve stopped grinding my teeth, my hand tremors have disappeared, and I feel so at peace overall. It’s improved every relationship in my life, with my family, fiance, friends, and of course God. My mind just feels healthier and more at ease. Running is my reset button. It’s my time to center myself.
The way others view me has changed, which is something I never expected. It still feels weird, but is extremely flattering, when people ask me for advice on running. I never thought I would be someone people would turn to for that. I’ve always just viewed myself as, well, just there. I don’t think people pay much attention to me in general. But when people seek me out and ask me for advice, it makes me so happy. I want to share my love of running with anyone who is interested. It’s brought so much happiness and peace in my life, and I want everyone to feel that.
Now, I can’t imagine a world where running isn’t a part of my life. Even when I get too old to run, I fully intend to stay in the running world by volunteering at races.
For anyone considering running, please believe me. You can do it. You have a whole world full of runners who will support and encourage you.
If ever I happen to run past you, without a doubt, I’ll send a smile and wave in your direction.
Just got back from my first training day for my half marathon program! I am so excited that also pretty anxious. I’m really afraid that I am going to get injured again or that I’m going to lose motivation.
I have been slacking on my weekly mileage, averaging about 9 miles per week, so I am pretty disappointed in myself that I didn’t maintain my 10k level running.
Oh well, I feel sent my mileage before, and I can build it up again! The good thing is I am done with vacations for the summer, so I won’t have an excuse to slack off during vacation time.
Hello everyone. You know that nasty cold going around? Well, I finally caught it last Friday. And last Thursday was the last time I ran. I can’t believe it’s almost been a week. I’ve just been so weak and sick. I’m on antibiotics and just when I think I’m getting better, I relapse. I’m so worried about losing running progress. And I want to get out there and run for Boston.
We’ll see how far I’ve regressed after I recover.
I have to say, waking up early isn’t fun, but running in the morning is totally worth it. Works better than a cup of coffee to take you up!
I’ve been keeping up with running and working out… Things have just been hectic as I just moved last weekend. So I apologize for the lack of posting!
Yesterday I ate something bad and had food poisioning, but still went to the gym and did the stationary bike for half an hour. Today I planned on doing a 3-5 mile run, at an easy pace, but had to stop at 1.97 miles, since apparently I’m not over my food poisioning. Yeah, gagging and dry heaving will put the breaks on any run! Unfortunately. It kills me that I didn’t quite make it to 2 miles. But the good news is that I was running at a 9:26 minute mile pace. It’s so strange to think that less than a year ago, I thought my 12 minute mile pace was good. Your time improves without you even realizing it!
So yes. Rest tomorrow. Hopefully this stomach bug, or whatever it is, passes. In addition, I FINALLY got a gym pass. So I’ve been lifting more and focusing on weights as well as cardio. I must admit, I was one of those people who relied on cardio alone. But no longer! I want to be overall fit.
Only problem is I was a little too intense with my bicep curls and have strained my left bicep tendon where it connects to the shoulder. So a few days off from upper body work.
I really want to get more definition in my legs. I don’t carry a lot of fat in my abs, so you can see muscle definition coming through there. But I feel like my legs just will never be toned or defined enough. See picture below (of my running outfit) for reference.
Any advice on getting my lower body more defined?