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Growing up, I was an athlete. I was a gymnast and played soccer when I was younger, then moved to volleyball and tennis in high school. Although I loved playing sports and being athletic, I loathed running.
According to my coaches, it was a form of punishment. Sometimes it was to get us in shape before the season started, but usually it occurred after a bad game. I despised every minute of it, huffing and puffing all the way. I was lucky if I made it one mile – and that was too much running for me.
In college, I had friends who loved running. They would just lace up their shoes and head out on a 4 mile run like it was no big deal. One of my friends was even training for a marathon – and I thought they were crazy. Who in their right mind would run 26.2 miles (or even 13.1!) They often asked me to join along, and I believe I made it to my milestone run of 2 miles. I figured that was good enough for me!
While on my honeymoon at Disney World, we arrived just after the Walt Disney World Marathon weekend. I saw people walking around with their medals, and was actually slightly inspired. How neat would it be to run in Disney! So I came home and once spring hit, I decided I was going to become a runner.
I ran my first 5K and actually kind of enjoyed it! Then I tried to push past those 3 miles, and couldn’t. It was like my body decided it wasn’t made for running. So I stopped. Then started up again. Then stopped again. Then started up again. Then stopped again.
My last start at running occurred this past summer. Being a teacher, I was able to use my summer to get in shape. I took a spinning class 3 days a week, did strength training multiple times a week and even went out and ran 2-3 miles a few times. Then my knee started to bother me. It started bothering me to the point I could barely walk, let alone run!
I went to the doctor and after a few tests, we determined I had popliteus tendinitis along with a super tight IT band. The culprit? Overtraining. Therefore, I had to take 5 months off to recover – a very difficult task for an active person like me!
During those 5 months off, I had a lot of time to really process my fitness goals. Although I love spinning, walking, the elliptical and strength training, deep down I still wanted to become a runner. So I decided to go for it.
Starting mid-January, I started to run again – slowly. I researched ways to ease back into running since the last thing I wanted was another injury! I worked my way up to 2.5 miles and started to get into a rut. It was then I decided that I needed a goal. Since I had already run a 5K, I wanted to up my mileage. I signed up for a 10K in May, thinking that even 6.2 miles was a long shot.
I knew it wasn’t going to be easy, especially since my longest run to date was 3 miles. However, I found a new running plan and worked hard. When I ran 4 miles, I couldn’t believe it! Then I ran/walked 5 miles. And before I knew it, I was running 5 miles with just a few quick water breaks! Three months later and I’m less than a mile shy of my 10K goal!
After reading many inspirational blogs about running, I decided to start one of my own. I found that this was a great way to deal with my successes, frustrations, trials and goals. It is also a great way to gain support from friends, family and seasoned runners.
And better yet – I’ve learned to love running. After a long day at work, all I can think about is going on my run. I love going to the gym. I love when the weather is nice enough to run outside. I love the feeling I have when I’m done – the feeling of accomplishment, the feeling of the stress leaving my body, and the feeling that I’m doing something great for my health. It’s not always easy, but it’s worth it!
I still have visions of a half-marathon at Disney – but now it doesn’t seem so crazy