How I became a runner…

Long post alert:  🙂

Every now and again I sit down and reflect on my why.  Why did I start running and why do I have such a hard time with it now.  Now something to understand is this.  I did run as a kid.  I started running in 5th grade and ran until after high school (2001).  I wasn’t the fastest person out there but I could definitely hold my own.

In 2007, I tried to start running in the spring.  I wanted to work out and be fit again.  At the time I was a smoker, not a pack a day type of smoker but a survival smoker.  I didn’t enjoy it at all.  I just needed to have some way to reduce the stress my body felt day to day and I thought this helped.  I was in an unhappy marriage trying to not lose my shit on a daily basis and shield my kids from all things miserable.  So I got out the best pair of shoes I had to start running in.  Which were NOT running shoes and was going to run to a bridge near my house and back, a mile in total.  I took off and made it about .25 mile and had to walk.  I kept going and knew the shoes were not going to work.  I figured as long as I made it home, I could get a different pair of shoes.  I made it home and immediately realized I wasn’t going to run again for awhile.  My shoes had been rubbing on both of my big toes and the nails already looked a pale purple.  I knew they would both be goners so I stopped running.

In 2011, yes 4 years later, I finally tried again.  But this time I had a friend that was in it with me.  We were both going to participate in a Warrior Dash, which was so exciting.  We both wanted to get into good shape and enjoy it.  We would meet up and go for a short run here and there, both bought some new ‘running’ shoes and clothes.  We would also meet at the pool and swim to get in a good bit of cross training.  Everything was going great but, I was still a smoker.  I was faking it.  I was doing just enough.  It showed when we got to the race.  I died.  I walked most of it, if it hadn’t been for my sister being with me, I wouldn’t have made it.  After this race, I quit running….again.

In 2014, I started again.  I wanted to quit smoking once and for all so I had acupuncture on Friday, May 2, and again Saturday morning.  At the time I didn’t want to smoke but I assumed that would temporary as I was still in a very unhappy situation.  I figured the stress would eat me alive and I would start again.  So I decided to start running.  I gave my lungs a couple weeks before going to my first ‘run’.  It was more a run walk again but it was a start.  That was May 18th.  On the 21st, I decided I was going to run a 5k…on the 24th!  Yep!  Nothing like going all in.  The same day I signed up for the race I made Dare go with me to do a trial 5k.  I wanted to know I could make the distance.  I completed a 3 mile run/walk and knew I would be ok for the race.

Saturday morning rolled around and I went to my first adult 5k.  I went completely alone, faked warming up and then just tried to hold on for dear life.  I remember looking at the timer on my watch and being excited that I had run 14 minutes without stopping.  When I finished the race (official time of 34:42) I literally had tears in my eyes.  I had finally accomplished something.  It was the one moment in my running career that still outshines everything else.  I was on my way to becoming a runner.  From, that point on I was all in.  Running regularly, signed up for my first half marathon and ready to conquer the running world.

To this day, I have never felt that way after a race.  Yes, I have been happy to finish and proud of my accomplishments but finishing my first marathon was just another run.  No emotions that made me seriously happy.  I can’t figure out why I can’t be happy like that again.  I know that nothing will ever compare to the why when I ran that race.  That first milestone.  It is like no other.

Over the last year, I have really struggled with getting that sense of purpose and accomplishment out of running.  I know I can get by on half ass training and can under perform without being too upset.  So now I have to learn to reprogram myself into wanting more.  At first I thought more needing to be more distance, move into the ultra territory.  But I need to focus on discipline first.  Get myself back into the groove of being excited to run.  And I don’t know about you but when it gets dark at 5:30 pm it is a little hard to do!  🙂

Finding a purpose to run now is hard.  Who do I have to be good for?  Why do I need to keep at it?  What do I gain?  So I am hoping that focusing on the shorter distances as I used too when I first started might help.  Being able to spend less time doing a lot of longer miles but still being able to race and maybe just maybe, learning to like the 5k.  Notice I didn’t say love…because I really don’t like it so I know I won’t get that far!  ha!  I have two races coming up that are a little longer, both trail and after that I am all in for the 5k focus.  I just have had a very hard time getting in a long run so far.  Mentally I am just not in it.

What is your favorite mantra to keep you going?

How do you push yourself to do things you don’t want too?

4 thoughts on “How I became a runner…

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