This race marked the beginning of my running experiences, starting with some pretty grueling training. I can remember, quite vividly, lacing up my old sneakers and heading outside to attempt running a mile without stopping. I also remember thinking that I was absolutely going to die during said mile and trying to ignore my screaming muscles that hadn’t worked this hard since my high school swimming days.
I’ve mentioned the infamous “splitting of the pants” debacle, solidifying my need to get off my ass and start doing something. My 10-k ‘training’ was mediocre at best and J and I were lucky if we could manage to run together once a week,slowly trying to build up endurance. I think we got to just under 4 miles by the time the race came around.
Surprisingly, my sub-par training and sheer endurance got me across the finish line after 6.1 miles – but barely. My knee hurt for days, I was sore places I didn’t even know I could be sore, and my time was inversely proportional to my training. Not that I even cared at that point. I just finished my first race – a 10 freaking k -without stopping, and I was a pretty much the coolest kid around.
Following the race, I gave up on running for a while and focused solely on eating better. I figured it couldn’t hurt if I lost a few pounds; I would be lighter and therefore be able to run faster, right? I would run very occasionally all through the summer (it’s so hot in the South!) and made a conscience effort to run at least twice a week as soon as the heat broke and Autumn began. Following and 8k over Thanksgiving, I officially gave up running through the holidays, knowing that I needed new shoes and honestly, the holiday’s are all about eating bad food so you can purge yourself come January. Thankfully, John not only signed me up for my first half-marathon as a Christmas present, he even footed the bill for new shoes and I have been running steadily since New Years Day.
This race, however, is still a humble reminder of the beginning of my running journey and I can’t wait to be up there again, more experienced, to see how much I’ve progressed.
Upon some additional reflection, I feel there are several milestones that every novice runner will go through. Some are funny, some are encouraging, but all are things I’ve done over the course of the past year that hopefully you other runners out there can relate to.
Beginner Runner Milestones:
- The first time you turn down a cocktail because you have a long run the next day.
- The first time you are in the middle of a run and a bug flies in your open mouth. Yum.
- You figure out what fartlek and overpronation mean, and you know exactly how many miles are there are in a each race from a 5k to a full marathon.
- The first time you fall, head over ass, on the side of the road during rush hour for all to see. Those are the good times…
- The first time you spend over $15.00 on a single pair of socks and don’t even blink.
- The first time you justify eating a gigantic 3 course dinner as a “prep meal”.
- The first time you can’t take your four-legged running buddy with you because it’s too warm for them – in turn making you realize that you have been running so long, the seasons have changed.
- You retire your first pair of running shoes.
- The first time you realize that you’re never going to eat that frozen bag of peas in the freezer because you’ve used it for an ice pack one too many times.
- The first time you finish your longest run ever, and you realize “Holy shit, I just did that.” (and you can’t get ‘Eye of the Tiger out of your head for like an hour)
With this race, I’m hoping to beat my PR from last 10-k in February. The forecast doesn’t call for a blizzard (so far) so we will see – those cold runs really get me moving. I shall report back Monday.
Wish me luck, and I hope everyone has a wonderful weekend!