I wouldn’t say I run a lot, but I run my fair share. My confession? I hate it. Really. So many of my friends love running. Some might even tell you they’re addicted. Not me; not by a long shot! But it keeps my cardio in good condition and I’m definitely the healthiest I’ve been in years. I do like being leaner and stronger. I fit in clothes that haven’t been worn in eons and when I let people feel my muscles I like saying, ‘I could take you down.’ Ha ha. Am slowly but surely getting faster. But have no doubt – I really do hate it.
While I don’t like the actual running part I do like these things: the gear [this is what I’m addicted to: Lulumemon’s groovy run short + scoopneck tank and rain gear by Nike, iPod shuffle and Garmin Forerunner 405] and race day festivities, especially out of town events and ones done with friends. Racing has provided a great opportunity to meet new people and connect – and in some cases reconnect – with friends in a different way. In fact, it was my friend Joy that got me started. In 2008, she asked me to join her for a half marathon in Leavenworth, WA. Despite being pretty sure I couldn’t actually run 13.1 miles, I said yes. I mean, I literally hadn’t run in 20 years! And even then the longest I’d ever gone was three miles. What was I thinking? Oh well, I’d committed, registered and made a hotel reservation so started training. Then two weeks in, my grandfather had a stroke and passed away. Family comes first. Running didn’t even enter the equation for about three weeks. After his funeral I made a decision to stick it out because he had known I was doing the race and didn’t want to let him down. During my next long run, I discovered how cathartic being alone on the road could be. Just me and my thoughts. I’d held it together so well during his sickness, so much so that it surprised me, but on that run I lost it. I cried for most of those five miles. But felt so much better afterward and I knew I could, would, do all 13 miles. My goal was to finish whether that meant running, walking or crawling across that finish line. My friend Doug told me, “Just keep putting one foot in front of the other.” That’s what I did. Finished and surprisingly felt okay afterward. Then discovered running in Leavenworth during Oktoberfest meant Beer Garden. But it was fun for this non-beer drinking gal because of the company.
first race ever - post Leavenworth Half Marathon w/Joy
My long runs now are a time on the weekends to clear my head, organize my thoughts and rock out to my favorite songs [yes, that’s me around Greenlake singing aloud]. Turning 40 meant running a marathon, of course. Ran my first 26.2 in January 2010; the Arizona Rock and Roll. My girlfriend Mika and I thought that would be the perfect first marathon for us both. Flat race in a nice, warm place when Seattle would be cold and dreary. What we totally took for granted was the winter training. That year was particularly cold with some of the harshest days falling on our longest training runs, naturally. Our 18 miler was so frigid our fingers kept tingling and the water at the top of our bottles froze. And don’t even ask me how the Gu was…yuck. But we kept going and rocked Arizona. There is such a high that starts around mile 24 because you know you are about to finish. It gives you an extra sprint in your step. Triumphantly crossed the finish and I am not too proud to tell you that when the older man handing out finishers medal placed mine around my neck, I cried. But it took me nearly 4 hours and 45 minutes. Had to do better.
finishing 2010 Arizona Rock n Roll
So now you know my other secret – I am super competitive. Not with others, just myself. I was determined to run another marathon last year and Portland was it! Got training right away but trained too hard and too fast. Result? Serious injuries. That’s right, plural. Plantar fasciitis in both feet and terrible pain in both hips. Eventually got the pain down to just the left hip but it was so painful it hurt to put weight on it. Was pretty sure it was a stress fracture but it turned out to be overuse, too long of a stride and poor core strength. The summer was spent swimming, core training, a lot of physical therapy and doing only my scheduled long runs. This is not the way to train for 26.2 grueling miles. But I persevered, ran Portland with my friends SuLee and Amy and took some time off my last race. It ran cats and dogs throughout. We stood around in garbage bags before the race, carried about 5 pounds of water weight during the race and I lost a toenail after the race. Fun times. But I’d used the race as a vehicle to raise money for my favorite charity, JDRF, so it was all completely worth it.
about to take on Portland with Amy and SuLee
I don’t have very many more marathons left in me. I’m much happier with the half marathon distance. I have no desire to run Boston but if any of my friends do it I will be there with the biggest, most colorful signs and possibly a blowhorn! I would like to run the NYC, Athens and Marine Corps marathons sometime in my life but those are the only ones. It’s now nearly three years since I started running. I’ll never love it but I can appreciate its benefits and the quiet time on the weekends it provides. And I love, love, all the experiences I’ve been sharing with friends.
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Any words of advise for someone just starting to run? (just a 5k) I suffered from shin splints in the past – super high arches… When I run, I actually refer to it as a shuffle:)
From me? The girl with constant injuries? Actually, I can tell you what not to do for sure – over train and skip critical rest days. Also, core strength training really does help! As well as good post run stretching. I’d make sure your shoes are right for your feet, ankles and gait. Road Runner in Greenlake is a good place to go to figure that out. I’m not a big orthotics person but they can at least evaluate your shoes to start. While you’re there you ask them about compression socks. Which 5k are you doing?
A group of girlfriends are doing the See Jane Run 5k http://www.seejanerun.com/t-See-Jane-Run-SEATTLE-Half-Marathon-and-5K.aspx. None of us are runners, so it will be interesting. I have the right shoes (from RR Sports), but I think my stride needs work…we’ll see how this goes!
What an inspiration you are… my favorite part was when you mentioned your favorite running items (I’ll have to try the lulu shorts). I definitely want to do all the races you mentioned, it would be awesome to do a marathon in Europe. See you in a few weeks for our marathon movie.
Thanks, Juliette. I decided last year to stop comparing my running abilities to others and have been so much happier with my races. I ran track in high school because it was a fun individual sport; decided to go back to that perspective and concentrate on myself. I was so happy when you ran your race in December. I know it was a challenge but you did it! Still hope to run a race – whatever the distance – with you and Fabe. Maybe a 5k in NY. That would be fun!
You’ve been a great inspiration to us — like you are in so many ways. I ran cross country in high school and was the slowest one. I knew I was hampered by athletic induced asthma – and grew to detest running. Fast forward 20 years and seeing you do it seemingly effortlessly — and I was wowed. Then, when F started running, I thought maybe… I know a marathon isn’t in the cards for health reasons, but I ran the farthest I had ever run in December — and it was a race! I took off the winter (running in 20 degree weather was my excuse to go on hiatus)— but … I am thinking about running again… And your article makes me want to hydrate well so that I can start again soon!