Happy National Running Day! Today is a day to celebrate a shared passion for running, which is a great (mostly) free exercise to enjoy!
Since I haven’t been able to run much lately due to my ankle, I thought I would reflect back on my relationship with running over the years. Here is my history with running and I’ll try to keep it brief.
I’ll just get it out there–I hate running long distances. I know I’ll never run a marathon and I am ok with that.
I always knew I was more of a sprinter because when I played softball as a kid, the coaches would tell me I was really fast.
During middle school gym class, I discovered hurdles. Oh did I love the hurdles and I went on to compete in all of the hurdle races in high school and in relays. My love of running quickly turned sour when I ran over a hurdle during an indoor practice my senior year of high school and my knee popped. I didn’t hit the hurdle, but I heard and felt a weird sensation in my leg and then I fell to the floor. I later learned I had torn my meniscus and had to have surgery, which I did that summer. I hated not being able to run. I sat on the couch and gained weight. I felt awful. While at college my freshman year, I hurt the same knee again and had to have surgery the following summer because it kept irritating me.
I never considered myself much of a runner during my college years, but discovered my love for it again when I lived in California for graduate school. The weather was always nice and I wanted to use running as a tool to control the stress I was facing with graduate school. Well, it worked and I felt like I managed my time better. When I needed a break from writing my thesis or studying, I knew I could lace up my sneakers, hit the pavement, smell the flowers and get away for a little while. I also discovered trail running and found it to be quite fun!
Fast forward to the fall of 2004 when my sister-in-laws called me up and talked about running a half-marathon in October. It was the first ever Nike Women’s Half Marathon/Marathon in San Francisco. We didn’t have much time to formally train, but I wasn’t worried because I had been running outdoors so much. On race day, we did ok. I had trouble breathing on the hills and I mentally shut down at about mile 11. I had never run that many miles in my life, so it was only natural. I was proud that we finished the race, got our Tiffany & Co. necklaces and were able to enjoy the beauty of San Francisco.
(That’s me on the right)
After that first ever half marathon, I ran another Nike Women’s Half and did ok with that. I also ran two 5ks & the crazy Bay to Breakers 12k. I have no clue what my times were for any of these races, but those don’t matter. I know I ran them and did the best I could.
I even worked at a running shoe store in California and learned about the different types of shoes, gear, etc. It was great and I still utilize a lot of the knowledge I gained from that job today when I shop for new running shoes, help a friend find new ones, or when I buy gear.
Currently, my relationship with running is this: I enjoy it, but think I would rather do it leisurely than train for a race. I know many people thrive on training for races because that pushes them to run faster and stronger. I am not one of them and this is ok with me. I know that my current ankle injury won’t allow me to accomplish one of my goals for 2011 and I accept that fact. I will finish the 10k race in July, but it will be by walk/running and not running to get a great time or anything like that.
So, on this National Running Day, it’s clear that my relationship with running certainly has had it’s ups and downs. Now it is time to find out about yours.
Do you enjoy running and why? Have you always enjoyed it or learned to love it over time?