I always hated running.
I grew up playing basketball where running was our punishment. It wasn’t fun, it hurt, I was not a fan. I wasn’t that great of an athlete, but I put my heart and soul into it while I was playing and loved every second of it. I loved being an athlete and having a purpose to what I was doing with exercise.
I graduated high school, went to college, lost interest in sports and was not active for the first 2 years. My junior year I started working out to lose the freshman 15+ and became a gym junkie. I spent hours in the gym everyday and loved it. I loved cardio, I loved weights and I just loved working out and being in shape, but the gym did get a little boring.
After graduating college, I got married and I entered the real world where I didn’t really have the extra hours anymore to spend in the gym with my 40+ hour a week job and 10+ hour a week commute. I did what I could but I definitely wasn’t fulfilled. After a couple years with ups and downs of exercise, I ended up getting a new job with no commute, and had all this extra time on my hands. At the same time, my husband Chris and I were looking for a new challenge since we were at kind of a lull with life.
It was close to New Years 2008 that a flyer came in the mail to run The San Francisco Marathon through Train to End Stroke (a fundraising organization similar to Team in Training). It sounded fun, I knew people who had trained for running races and I was always very intrigued and envious of them. We went to a meeting and I somehow was talked into not just the half but the FULL marathon. The most I had ever run was 3, maybe 4 miles. I was scared, I couldn’t even fathom running that far, but I signed up and soaked up every ounce of information I could along the way.
February 9th, 2008 I ran my first mile of marathon training and August 3rd, 2008 I crossed the finish line of my first full marathon. In between those two dates I fell in love with running and haven’t stopped since.
After my first marathon I decided I wanted to qualify for the Boston Marathon. I tried in December 2008 (CIM), May 2009 (Eugene) and October 2009 (Cowtown) and fell short each time, but kept on trying. In December 2009 (CIM) everything finally came together and I made it to the finish line in 3:39:34 and got my BQ. It is by far the highlight of my running story so far and was the hardest thing I have ever done. My first race ever was a 5k in March 2008 where my average pace was 8:20 and less than 2 years later I turned that into my full marathon pace.
At the beginning of 2010 I shifted my focus from fast courses to scenic courses and ran the Big Sur Marathon, the most challenging but most beautiful course I have ran. In December 2010 I attempted to PR at CIM again and fell short but finished marathon #8 with a smile.
I finally lived my long awaited dream on April 18th, 2011 by running the Boston Marathon. It was everything I ever imagined it would be and much more. 13 days later I lined up at the start line of the Big Sur Marathon, also marathon #10, as part of the Boston 2 Big Sur challenge and was able to run another strong marathon. These 2 races I consider to be my “happiest races”, they may not have been my fastest, but I had a blast, smiled the whole way and just loved being out there running.
In July, I ran the San Francisco Marathon as a “training run” for the Portland Marathon, and ended up burned out, exhausted and ready for a break. I decided not to run the Portland Marathon and took the fall off from training plans where I ended up rediscovering my love for running and fell in love with the trails.
After a few months of running for fun, I relit my fire for training and decided to tackle a goal I had been thinking about for years… an ultra-marathon. But not just any ultra, I signed up for a 50 miler! I created a hard, challenging training plan and pushed my limits when it came to mileage and distance. At the same time, I completely fell in love with training, running and the trails and found myself exactly where I wanted to be with my running. On April 7th, I crossed the finish line of my first 50 miler (American River 50)and had the most amazing race and life experiences to date.
I haven’t decided what is next for 2012, but I can tell you it will include a lot more dirt, hills and trails than it has in the past.
Running makes me feel like an athlete again. It makes me appreciate different aspects of different seasons. It makes me aware of things I never was aware of before. It has taught me more about myself then I ever thought "exercise" would. I have pushed my limits. I have found some limits. I have learned I am not a quitter and that I can do anything I put my mind to. It gives me structure and helps relieve stress, but mostly it just makes me happy.
I am a 30 year old girl, married to my best friend, fur-mom to a rottweiler, yellow lab and 2 cats, a Capricorn, an accountant, and lover of all things running.
This is where I let it all out.
Follow along as my story continues to write itself…