Happy Fourth of July!  I hope all my U.S. readers have a wonderful Fourth filled with lots of yummy food, great company, and beautiful fireworks, and that all my non-U.S. readers have a fabulous Thursday!  

You'll have to wait until Wednesday to see my Fourth eats because today, I want to talk running.  I mentioned in my last post that I am training for a 5k, so I thought this would be the perfect opportunity to share my running story.


When I was little, I hated running.  I didn't mind short sprints, but long distance?  Oh no.  No way.  During middle school, I played volleyball because 1) I had always wanted to play it and 2) there was not a lot of running involved.  I played lacrosse for a year in high school, and I liked the sport, but there was constant running which I was not a fan of.

I had always wanted to be a runner.  I saw those people who would run together along the streets and was always jealous.  It looked so calming and refreshing and a great activity to do with a friend.  But alas, it just wasn't for me.

In my early teens, I decided to give long distance running a go.  So I started running with my dog.  But I. hated. it.  I did it off and on for about a month before I gave up.  I tried to like it, but as I'm sure we all know, there is no such thing as trying to like something.

A year or two later, I decided to try shorter distance running.  I worked with my trainer and ran several track meets for the 200m and 400m.  I did not enjoy the 200m, but I liked the 400m.  However, both races had to be full out sprints which ended up being just as bad as long distance for me.  I began to dread track meets and get really nervous because I wasn't sure I could sprint the whole way.  I finally decided that I didn't want to do something that I disliked so much and so I stopped track (I was never part of a team, but I stopped attending meets).

So I wasn't a long distance runner, and I wasn't a sprinter.  So I just wasn't a runner, period?  I gave it one more shot when I signed up for a 5k during the late winter/early spring of 2012.  I was really excited.  Just over three miles?  No big deal, right?  After about five minutes of running, I was walking and asking myself why I ever decided to do this.  I did finish that 5k, but I walked for well over half of it which really disappointed me.  I thought I could do it.  But I couldn't.

And that was the last straw.  It was official.  I knew I wasn't a runner, but this was the last confirmation I needed.  I didn't run at all that summer and had no desire to.  I had tried, but it just wasn't for me.  I did exercise of course, but stuck to weight-lifting and work-out DVDs.  I love exercise and didn't want to give it up, but I just stayed away from any running. 

At the end of the summer, I headed off to my first year at college.  I knew that I wanted to keep active because I have always been an active person, but I wasn't sure how.  I didn't have any desire to use the school gym - I wanted to be able to do something quick that cleared and refreshed my mind.  

I began to entertain the thought of running again.  I thought it would be a great way to see the new city I was living in.  But the thoughts of my past experiences with it were nagging at my mind.  Eventually, I decided to just run around the school once.  It wasn't terrible, but I definitely didn't enjoy it.  I was extremely sore for the next few days too.  But that soreness was the best thing that could have ever happened to me.

You see, I was working on a math project with another girl in my math class, and when I explained the reason behind my limping, she asked if I wanted a running buddy.  She had run track in high school and was also looking for a way to keep in shape during college.  Even though I hadn't planned on more running, I said yes!  I was so excited - not for the run itself, but just the thought of running with someone like I had always wanted to!  I warned her that I was pretty slow, but we went anyway.  We went around the park and through a bit of town, and by the time we got back, we were both breathing pretty hard.  And guess what she said?  She said that I was fast!  I truly think she meant it, and that gave me a bit of an inclination that perhaps I shouldn't have given up on running.  

We started running two to three times a week, and for the first time in my life, I actually enjoyed it.  I looked forward to running.  I enjoyed the actual running, and I loved the way it made me feel after and was amazed at the stress it helped me to relieve.  Up until this time, I had never understood the "runner's high," but now, I did.

We usually ran between two and three miles, though our farthest was four miles.  Definitely no marathon running, but it was just enough for us.  We honestly didn't have time to go much further even if we had wanted to.  

We ran throughout my entire first year at college, and I loved every second of it.  Of course, we didn't always run consistently when we had big exams and other activities, but we did what we could.  During second semester, we set a goal to have an average pace below 9:00/mile.  We got close at 9:03/mile but unfortunately, no closer.  

When I got home for the summer, I started working and had my summer class, and so running got left behind.  But a few weeks ago, I started it up again, and my first time out, I had an average under 9:00/mile.  But more importantly, I am enjoying it again.  Now, I definitely don't love every run, and in no way is it easy.  However, it makes me feel amazing.  It is something that I can constantly prove to myself that I can do.

On July 21, I will run a 5k.  I will be running at the start, at the finish, and every step in between. I have no goal time-wise.  I just want to run it.  For my first 5k, I thought I could run it.  Now, I know I can.

If you had told me five years ago that I would be able to ever run more than half a mile, I wouldn't have believed you.

If you had told me five years ago that I would enjoy running more that half a mile, I really wouldn't have believed you.

And if you had told me that I would ever have won this, I probably would have laughed at you.
I just found out about this race about two years ago, and I finished first in my age group.  Of course, I did have the help of a very close friend.
Picture
Early morning view of the lake we ran around.
She might have been more tired by the end than I was...
Apparently my running shoes make for a good pillow.


Well, congratulations if you have made it to this point.  I think this is my wordiest post by far.  But I wanted to share it in the hopes that it will inspire you to never give up.  I'm not saying that everyone out there is a runner.  I just think that you shouldn't write something off just because you have failed at it once, twice, or even more times.  If it's something that you really want, give it another chance.  You won't lose anything by doing so, but you have the world to gain.
 


Comments

07/04/2013 22:26

That's so awesome! You have such a cool story :) I have such a love/hate relationship with running! I need to just be more consistent with it, and then I think I'd enjoy it more ;)

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Alex
07/09/2013 10:53

I definitely do enjoy it more when I'm consistent. Otherwise it seems to be a constant battle! Now that I've been running regularly for several weeks, I'm really enjoying it and look forward to my running days!

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07/05/2013 10:16

This is such a great running story! I totally felt the same way about running. It was punishment in the sports I did play, and I never found it fun. Something seemed to click about 2 years ago, and suddenly it became my fav thing to do. A running buddy is a must! I run with friends and family. I seriously talk the whole time. Running buddies motivate me and make the run fly by! :)

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Alex
07/09/2013 10:56

I totally agree! I definitely prefer to have a running buddy. Unfortunately, I don't have one this summer (other than when I take my dog ;) ). But hopefully this fall!

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Oh my gosh, the puppy photos are so cute!

Congratulations on your love affair with running! I definitely think it's something you have to earn and that it doesn't come easily to most people. Isn't it the most amazing feeling to run further or faster than you ever have? It's such an empowering experience!

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Alex
07/09/2013 10:57

It really IS an amazing experience! It just goes to show how amazing our bodies are and what they can do for us!

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07/05/2013 11:12

I LOVE THIS POST! Every word of it! I was the same way when I was younger, I HATED running. I played soccer for 10+ years which you would think doesn't make sense, but that was the ONLY running I ever did. That and to catch the ice cream truck haha.

I too would see runners and want that peace they had. So I ran, I hated it at first, but I kept running. It's always been a love/hate things with me and running but I need it in my life to keep my challenged. My first race was a 5K and I was hooked. I love race atmospheres and runners are a breed of people that you have to love! I've run multiple races (I say run not raced because I am no where near fast) including two half marathons and I cannot wait to run another half!

Keep running for YOU, that's what I have been doing and it's making the world of difference. Your pace is great!

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Alex
07/09/2013 10:59

Thank you for the encouraging words, Brittany! I haven't done too many races, but I have loved the atmosphere of the ones I've done. It's just so inspiring when you're running with a group of people that have worked so hard for the same goal!

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I am SO happy for you. I know it was a struggle. I experienced the same things. Congrats on finally finding your peace. Enjoy the weekend!

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Alex
07/09/2013 11:00

The good thing about struggles is that it makes you appreciate the outcome even more! :)

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Such an awesome story and thanks for sharing! I love hearing about people's fitness journey. I love running buddies because it gives me accountability and keeps me distracted.

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Alex
07/09/2013 11:01

Running buddies definitely help me to push through! And it's always nice to have someone to talk to. :)

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I'm so thankful I came across your story! It's very inspiring to me as I just fell in love with running and now I have shin splints :( I really enjoyed reading how you came to love running. Congrats on getting 1st place in your age group and good luck with your 5k!

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Alex
07/09/2013 11:03

Oh no! I'm so sorry you got shin splints. :( That's one thing that I'm worried about and am doing all I can to prevent them. I hope they heal quickly so you can get back to running! And I'm so glad my story was inspiring to you! Knowing that that's the case made my day. :)

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Thanks for sharing!! And congrats to you!! :)

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Alex
07/09/2013 11:03

Thank you, Amanda! :)

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07/07/2013 02:08

I looooved this post! I used to be the same way! I absolutely hated runing, but now I love it!

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Alex
07/09/2013 11:04

I'm glad you fell in love with it too! The struggles make the outcome even more empowering!

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07/07/2013 08:51

I love reading about your running story! It's funny how one little aspect of our lives can change it so dramatically. Congrats on your medal love!

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Alex
07/09/2013 11:05

Thanks, Christine! It is amazing how things change - and how they usually change for the better!

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I love reading about why people run and their story behind it! Congrats on coming in first that is a really big accomplishment!

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Alex
07/09/2013 11:06

Thank you, Sarah! It is an experience I will never forget!

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07/08/2013 12:18

Great job!
I've always wanted to be a runner too, and I became one. One of the best decisions I made in my life.
Love the "running shoe as a pillow" picture! My puppy still thinks they're chew toys!

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Alex
07/09/2013 11:08

I'm glad you were able to become a runner too! I find running to be so empowering.
Haha yeah I'm glad my pup only views them as a pillow. They would be some seriously expensive chew toys ;)

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07/08/2013 16:44

I just found your blog. What an amazing running story, I love it (: I can totally relate to the on and off thing. I did some track/CC in middle school and ran some over the summer, but I would always stop for some reason. I totally admire runners and always have! Now I run consistently, and I'm in love. Your dog is TOO CUTE!

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Alex
07/09/2013 11:10

Yay! I'm glad to hear that you eventually fell in love with running too. It can take a long time to develop a passion like that, but in the end, the time it takes is so worth it!

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07/08/2013 20:36

4 Legged 4k?! How cute :)! And your dog's shoe pillow...so adorable :)!!!

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Alex
07/09/2013 11:11

Haha thanks! :)
I thought the name was pretty clever too - July 4th 4 legged 4k. Now that takes alliterations to a whole new level! ;)

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07/09/2013 22:39

This is such a great story :) Congrats on your medal, too!

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10/18/2016 17:05

I love run and i love your work.
Thanks for share your experience. ;)

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11/08/2016 15:46

Im from Portugal and i love you amazing running story. I can totally relate to the on and off thing.
Thanks!

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