Thursday, January 12, 2012

Past, Present, Future

This introductory post is going to be a long one. Let's begin at the beginning, shall we?

Running History

In 2008, I was a student in grad school earning my masters in English education. Bogged down in studies, I was fighting with a crazily fluctuating weight and stress-induced lethargy. I was also newly engaged. With 2009 looming, I decided to focus my resolution on exercise.

I have never been a severely overweight person, but I was that kid in gym class who ran the mile in 20 minutes and then complained of being tired. I've had asthma since birth (this is not an exaggeration) and constantly used this as an excuse. I couldn't run a full lap around a track. Period. I had to walk about halfway in.

In high school and college I began to go to the gym, but it was always inconsistent. And, like many (dare I say "most"?) women, I battled disordered eating habits and an obsession with weight. It wasn't until grad school that I had a kind of epiphany. I didn't want to look at exercise as a competition; I didn't want to go to a gym and stare at a TV while I obsessed over calories on the elliptical. So, I made a resolution. I would learn to run outside.

"Like a real person," I said.

My fiance, M, was happy to help. I had an iPod and running shoes and was able to do my first couple runs without having to spend any money on "supplies". The first time I successfully ran a mile without stopping, I felt this sense of total elation and freedom. I, who could never even complete a lap around a track, could run a mile without pausing to walk!

My birthday falls right after Valentine's Day, and M and his mom worked together to buy me an iPod nano specifically for running, a Nike+, armband, and new Nike shoes. I was set! Having all the extra accoutrements really did motivate me to keep running.

I haven't looked back since. After getting married and moving for my job, I found a running buddy.

Running Pattern

I wouldn't say I stopped running after I began teaching, but teaching is not a job you leave at work when you go home. Coming home nightly to grade papers, tweak lesson plans, and work on furthering my own education completely destroyed my urge to run.

I teach English in a middle school; one of the other young teachers and I began to talk, and I realized that she, too, was a runner. We began to run together after school. This is definitely the best thing that has ever happened to my running. In grad school, my "running buddy" ran with me twice and then gave up. But K was different. She had run in high school and was avid. To this day, K is my running buddy; on days I don't want to run, knowing I'll let her down is the best way to get my feet into my sneakers.

In 2011, we ran a half marathon together. K had had a baby in May and we had been running all summer to train for the half, but when school started again our running fell by the wayside. We ran the half that January after months of not running at all. Talk about pain! Actually, I did injure myself. I did a mile run a day after the half and my knee hurt so badly I had to walk most of it. This is an injury I still need to baby today.

Can you tell I've never had formal running training?

So after the half, I took three months off from running. This brings me to my latest pattern. I don't run frequently enough. And this, of course, brings us to my future goal and this year's resolution!

Future Goal

My resolution, as I phrased it, was "run more consistently...don't have anymore blank months on DailyMile or Nike+." Well, okay. So how do I make sure I stay motivated?

For one thing, K also set a goal for a certain amount of miles this year, so we've got each other. I figured a blog that forced me to be held accountable for any excuses I make would also be a good thing.

I love running. It's a great way to clear my head. After eight hours of talking/lecturing or having people talk at me, it's a great time for reflection and silence. Sometimes I like to run alone to get a chance to just...mentally disappear for awhile. I mostly prefer running with K for the motivation, distraction, and camaraderie. Nothing solidifies a friendship more than the things you talk about after a good run.

So that's it. In 2009 I tied on my first pair of running shoes and haven't looked back. This year, I look forward to success in my fitness like I've never seen before! I encourage you to come along for the journey.


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