I never in my wildest dreams thought I would be able to refer to myself as a runner. I was never the athletic type and I hated sweating. I would watch runners as I drove by in my car and wonder if they were crazy. What would possess someone to run if they weren’t being chased by a pack of wild dogs.
Well here we are, years later and I am proud to call myself a runner. I started of small. Once I could actually run 3 miles without stopping or needing resuscitation I decided to sign up for a 5K (3.1 miles) race. The first one I ever did was the Super Mom 5K hosted by The Darcy J Foundation here in Orlando. This was in 2014. I remember being so nervous because I had never run an official race before. My finish time was 40 mins. Yay me!
You may ask, why run an official race, why not just go for a morning jog. Well any runner will tell you that it isn’t official in your mind until you receive that completion medal and so you sign up for your 1st race and then your 2nd and 3rd each time pushing your limits further and further with the goal to beat your last finish time. I did four 5K races and one 10K race (6.2 miles) and then decided to see if I could run a Half Marathon (13.1 miles).
13.1 miles is a lot of running. It takes a lot of will power to keep going by the time you hit the 8 mile mark and realize you have 5 more to go. I trained by gradually increasing my distance. I could at this point run 6.2 miles with a good amount of ease, so every 2 weeks I would add 1 more mile. I could only run on Saturdays as my work schedule didn’t permit weekday running. I also ran outside not on a treadmill. I started training in January 2016 and signed up and paid for a race to be held in December 2016.
I woke up at 5am every Saturday and ran around my neighborhood at the first sign of daylight. I finally reached 10 miles after 6 months of training. Whew!
I listen to books on the Audible app when running. Some runners listen to music but that would mean creating a playlist and hoping to be in the mood to listen to those songs during the run. So I listen to books instead, my go-to authors are Mary Higgins Clark, Carol Higgins Clark, Jackie Collins and Sidney Sheldon. Yea no non-fiction for me. I need to be completely engrossed in the story so I don’t focus on the fact that I’ve been running all morning.
After I hit 10 miles it wasn’t too hard to add three more. I remember deciding to go for it one morning after having had only 4 hours sleep. Yea, do not recommend that. When my running app notified me that I had reached 13.1 miles it was an amazing feeling. The last 3 months before my race I ran 13 miles every Saturday and was able to achieve a time of 3 hours which wasn’t bad for training. I did this because I wanted the day of the race to be like any other Saturday morning run. If I was accustomed to running 13 miles then it wouldn’t be an ordeal on race day. Some runners train by running 10 miles then add the 3 on race day but my method works for me.
Before I start my run, I fuel my body with a banana and peanut butter spread on a slice of whole wheat bread. The banana is for the potassium to prevent leg cramps and the peanut butter is full of fat, protein, and fiber, and provides a slow, sustained release of energy during the run.
As luck would have it, the Half Marathon I registered for was canceled due to weather but I was able to register for the Town of Celebration Half Marathon in January 2017. I ran that race in 50 degree weather and rain with a finish time of 2:30. I could barely walk for a week afterwards but it was completely worth it. Since then I did another Half race in December 2017 with a finish time of 2:25 and am currently registered to run another one this December. It gets addicting you see.
If I can do it, so can you. Remember to just keep running, running running to that Finish line.