I never thought of myself as a runner.
I never considered myself someone who ran well or was fast or could even keep up a decent pace. I was the slower sibling, the one who got winded easily and opted out of the neighborhood game of chase more often than not.
Not because I didn’t want to…ok well I kinda didn’t want to. Running hasn’t been something I ever found pleasure in. Between my asthma issues as a child and my sore knees, running was painful and at times scary.
So taking on this goal of running 12 races in a year was definitely not something I’d consider normal for me. Hell, it wasn’t even on my radar until I ran my first couple of races (poorly I might add). When I crossed that first finish line and could say to myself “I did it, I just finished a race” I suddenly felt powerful and capable.
I wanted to go further.
Running is a great goal setter. You can start out slow or walking/jogging at intervals and keep track of how well you are doing. It’s easy to see improvement when you run. You can start out huffing and puffing just to finish 2 miles without killing yourself. After a while you notice you are not huffing so hard anymore and 2 miles seems easy.
After that, you up the ante. You add more miles, you pick up the pace, you choose a harder course to run and include some hills. It’s easy to level yourself up when you run and to push yourself on days when it seems all to easy.
Last night we did our usual 3.5 hilly run. We mostly do this Wednesday nights but it was a holiday this week so we scooched it over to Thursday and took off. At first we were debating whether we should even start. We were both exhausted from the festivities the day before followed by a full day of work.
But as we started, the hill before us curving and climbing higher, we managed to find our pace and dig in. Unexpectedly I found myself at the top, a shear layer of sweat covering my body and my sister catching up to me as I kept going forward and my mind was freaking out.
Excuse me? Did I just run that hill without stopping? And am I still running? THESE CAN’T BE MY LEGS!?!?!
Yes, those were my exact thoughts as I turned with the curving road and continued to run through the stop sign and up the second hill. I was amazed! So amazed I just kept on going through the second stop sign till I reached a flat point where I could slow down and catch my breathing.
And not just me but my sister, too! She couldn’t believed what she was seeing. And not because I’m not capable but because it was an unexpected turn of events.
We walked a bit at this point till we reached a brightly colored orange flower bush. Off we went again until my side cramp took over and I was panting for breath. It didn’t take long before we were off again, this time tackling another hill to a stop sign and allowing the downward curve to take us into the second half of our run.
And there I was…still running.
We shaved off 5 minutes last night and I was dying by the time we got home. I may be able to run hills better but my endurance needs some work. But I did it. I ran more than 85% of this course and by next week I hope to add another mile on to level up our long run.
Here stands the girl that couldn’t run, that got winded easily and who thought running was too tough. She’s now running on a regular basis, completing races, and running hills.
Yeah…I’ll count that as a huge leap of improvement.