I recently published an article about my start to running, how it started and what I learned. I was not even remotely close to having the endurance to run more than a 5K. Overtime that definitely changed, my mind set changed, my health changed and my life style. I am here to share my struggles and how I overcame them in the hopes you understand YOU CAN DO ANYTHING! So let’s begin with sharing what came next in my journey to health and fitness.
My First Half-Marathon
To continue from my last article, I had been running 3 5Ks that’s all I had done. My first year out of college, my aunt asked me if I wanted to do a half-marathon with her and her husband, that same weekend they had 5K runs. So I said yes and I signed up for a 5K run with my parents on a Saturday (which was my third 5K in the last aritlce) and the next day I ran a half-marathon with my aunt and uncle. My first half I had ever run. I trained only up to 7 miles, and decided to wing my first half. Yes wing it…because training was so damn hard for me that I didn’t want to continue running…..
On that Saturday, I prepared myself for my third 5K. I told myself to take it easy since I would be running a half-marathon the next day, I came in at 26 minutes, having my dad beat me and my mom follow. The next was my half-marathon, of course it would be the hottest day in Midland, MI that day. It was probably the most draining race, mostly because it was so hot out but also because it was the farthest distance I had ever run. I remember sprinting to the end, coming in at 2 hours and 25 minutes. My goal was to just finish, and I did just that. The one thing I remember while running was watching the marathon runners have to go off onto another road, and thinking to myself I would never be able to do that. I was just so proud of myself for running that distance and didn’t really understand what my time should be or anything. My goal was to finish, and setting a goal to accomplish each race has helped me push toward it.
My First 10K Race
In Michigan you never know what the weather will be like in March….either it is extremely cold, snowing or 70 degrees and sunny. My running partners and I decided to sign up for the St. Patrick’s Day 10K in Bay City, MI in 2014. Of course, this was the day that Michigan decided to give us weather of 10 degrees… I was never a ‘cold’ weather runner, I stuck to my warmer degrees before I would run outside, so that being said I was not dressed for this nor had I ever run a 10K. I finished the race and couldn’t wait to get warm. It was fun to be with my running partners again and also see many faces around town. I think one of the best decisions I have made with running is to make the most out of every experience. Instead of going home and doing nothing, I celebrated with my friends and we had a blast. That makes running even more exciting and something that was my goal through this race. One thing this race taught me was I can run in cold weather and to always remember to have fun in every race you do.
My First 10 Mile Race
After my half-marathon, I couldn’t even think about running another race. I had no interest in running 13 miles ever again. A year later, I was to move to Texas for work and I was the highest weight I had ever been to. I decided to join a local gym and get into better shape. I received help understand how my body worked and what I needed to do. I started to get into shape again. I was running 4-5 miles in the Texas heat, and I was starting to lose the weight I had gained. I moved back to Michigan six months later to a healthy weight and continued to work on my fitness, running up to 4 miles and doing other types of work outs.
In the fall of 2013, I was asked by a co-worker to join her and a friend for a 10 mile run, I agreed. I was so nervous that Saturday morning, since my half marathon I had not run up to 10 miles. I thought I would give it a shot. I did it. It went better then expect because of the work I had put in to get healthier. Eventually these two women became what I like to call “my running partners” but most importantly friends. We continued to run together for the fun and eventually decided to do a girls weekend in Philadelphia to run a 10 mile race. Between ball games, drinking, frozen yogurt and lots of laughs, it became race day. I clocked in at a pace of 8:25 per mile. It was the best run, I had ever had. I could not believe how far I had come.
My Second Half Marathon
Just two weeks later after my 10 mile run and girl’s trip to Philadelphia, my running partners and I decided to run in the Dow Weekend of Races half marathon! It took place where we lived and it was going to be my second time running a half marathon. It actually was the same race I ran my first half marathon in but the course was a little different. I was extremely excited to try to beat my time from my last race, that was my goal, to finish under two hours. I finished in 1:49 and ended up taking first place in my age group! It was an extremely amazing race and such a fun time being back in Michigan, running the same half I had run two years ago. I cut my time by more than 30 minutes, which is my eyes showed just how far I have come in my fitness life. I never thought I would be able to do this, however with amazing running partners, support systems and a goal, I was able to achieve it.
My Third Half Marathon
I remember telling myself after my first half I would never run this far again…I took a break from running and then came back full force. I think gaining a healthier life style, focusing on myself and making running partners was some of the decisions that helped change my mind. Now going into my third half marathon, I knew what to expect or so I thought. My running partners, their husbands and myself headed down to Detroit, MI for another weekend of running. We made the most out of our Friday drinking and trying new food. We made memories throughout the night of taking shots to celebrate one of the girl’s birthday and being woken up by their husbands coming in after the bars closed. We woke up early and got ready for another big race. I was extremely excited because for once I started to understand what cold weather running was and was able to dress more correct for the weather in October. The race I didn’t really know what to expect on the course besides that we ran from Detroit to Canada and back, how cool is that!!!! I finished the race and completed once again another race with a better time. I learned that each course may have the same miles but mental games and hills can be a game changer. Again, we made the most out of our weekend heading to the Detroit Lions football game to celebrate after.
The Next Steps
Life is all about what you make of it. I have gone from not being able to run a 5K to transforming to running 3 half marathons. When you have a goal and want to succeed, understand it won’t come easy and it won’t be handed to you but with some work and determination, you can do it!
After this half, my running partners and I got this crazy idea to continue to train for a marathon…but with unexpected twists, the training became very hard. Look for my next article on the continuation of my journey in fitness….