Hebrews 12:1-2

"..let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith..." - Hebrews 12:1-2

Thursday, November 3, 2011

A Year of Running

I just realized that it has been a little over a year since I began consistently running.
To celebrate that accomplishment, I want to recap where I started and where I currently am.
Warning - Since I am recapping an entire year, this is a long post. 

On October 22, 2010, I climbed onto our newly acquired treadmill and started on what has been quite the journey. Over the course of 23 heart-pounding minutes, I ran a total of 2 miles (11:30 minutes per mile pace). My goal at that point was to actually train to run a 5k that I had run several years in a row with only a couple of weeks of "training". I wanted finish the 5k in under 30 minutes. I obviously had some work to do to get to that point.

On October 30, I ran the Eye Run For Haiti 5k in 10:28 - a pace of 10:28 minutes per mile. This was encouraging to say the least. At this point I was dedicated to running 3 times a week on the treadmill and was pushing myself pretty hard.

On November 21, 2010, I ran the Jingle Bell Run 5k in 29:00 minutes (9:29 minutes per mile). At the end of this race, I decided that I would continue running 3 times a week, but I didn't really have a new goal in mind.

As the days in December ticked by, I began to think about a new goal. For some reason, I was drawn to the idea of a half-marathon. (This probably is due to the fact that my sister had recently completed one, but I am not sure.)  I looked online and discovered that I had enough time to train for the Go! St. Louis Half Marathon in April. Part of the registration process requires that you enter a previous half marathon time or 10k finishing time. I had run neither. I quickly searched for a 10k and discovered that the only one in the area that would work was 16 days away. Another thing I knew I had to change was the fact that I still had not been running outdoors. And so, out of necessity more than desire, I took to the streets on December 30, 2010.

On January 15, 2011, I ran the Frozen Buns Run 10k through the Delmar loop and University City in a time of 57:32 (9:14 per mile), reaching my goal of under an hour. It was 33 degrees outside and slightly breezy. The first 2 miles were almost entirely uphill, which made for a tough start. I found myself in a group of 5 or 6 runners that seemed to have the same pace as myself. It was about mile 3 that I knew I was going a little harder than my intended 10 minute mile pace, but I felt pretty good, so I kept with the group. At mile 5 I calculated that I might be able to finish in the 57th minute, but I had to keep my pace. The last quarter mile was a slow incline and I was gasping for air and my legs were burning. I had never run this far in my life (my previous long was 5 miles the week before). I was incredibly proud of what I accomplished in this race.

The next challenge was the half marathon. My training was going great. As January progressed, my left knee was always a little sore after I ran. It was never unbearable or anything and always abated the next day, so I kept running. On January 29th, I ran just over 7 miles. Toward the end of that run, my left knee was hurting. After I stopped running, the pain didn't subside. The next day, my knee was incredibly sore. I went to a chiropractor/sport therapy doctor and he told me it was my IT band. I went to therapy 3 times a week and did not run for almost 2 weeks. I ran 2 miles on February 11 and then started running again consistently on the 16th. It was about this time that I bought my first pair of running shoes - the Brooks Ravenna.

On March 16th, I ran 4 miles in 44 minutes (11 minute mile). This was a far cry from where I was, but I knew not to strain any harder. My doctor was great and he told me I could start lengthening my runs. On Friday the 25th, I told him that I was still wanting to do the half marathon, which was 2 weeks away. He told me to try 6 miles and see what happened. on March 26, I ran 6.25 miles in 1hr and 10 minutes (11:12 pace). this was the longest I had run in 2 months. The next week, my doctor told me to run 8 miles. I ran 9 miles on April 2nd at a 10:46 pace. This was the furthest I had ever run in my life and my knee was not really sore at all afterwards. 

On April 10th, I ran through the streets of downtown St. Louis in the Go! St. Louis Half Marathon. It was unseasonably warm (70 degrees at race time, 79 at the end of my run) and there were many people who fell out of the race after the 8th mile. In fact, the last 2 miles were littered with people laying off on the side of the road getting medical attention. The heat caused race officials to close the marathon course at the midpoint after a couple of hours. At around mile 10, my left leg started cramping up. By the time I started the slow climb up the last mile, which of course was uphill, both my legs and calves were cramping. One foot in front of the other. Breathe in, breath out. That was all I could do. I finished the longest and hottest run of my life in 2:27:04 (11:13 mile pace). According to my heart rate monitor, I burned at least 2700 calories during my race. I was exhausted and thrilled.

I eased back into running twice a week in May. On June 6th, I ran 4.1 miles (10:00 pace). Unbeknownst to me, this was going to be my last run for quite a while.

On June 2nd, I dove for a ball in the outfield while playing softball. It skipped just under my glove and I landed full force on top of the ball and rolled over it. I could barely stand up after the play. I remained in the game and actually played the next week as well (albeit very reserved and in great pain). I knew that something wasn't right and I was in a ton of pain. I went to the doctor and the x-rays showed that I had cracked two ribs. I couldn't stand up straight for a good 3 week, let alone run. On July 7th, I tried running again. This was an agonizing 2.2 mile run (9:53 pace). My ribs weren't healed enough yet for running. On July 16th, I was able to start running again.

Since that time, I have been pretty consistent in running 2-3 times a week. I enjoy the exercise and I can feel the benefits of it. It helps me relive stress and it allows me to feel like I have accomplished something I didn't have to do.

Here's how far I have come in my first running year:
Started on October 22, 2010, weighing 212 pounds.
Ran 2 miles in 23 minutes (11:30 pace).

On October 24, 2011 I weighed 202 pounds.
Ran 3.4 miles in 30:17 (8:54 pace).

Injuries: 2 (IT Band, Cracked Ribs)

Total miles run: 383.87 miles
Total calories burned: estimated 62,763.
Total pounds lost: 10

I need to set some goals for this next year of running.
Right now, I will say that my goal is to not crack any ribs and to avoid aggravating my IT Band as much as possible.

And yes, I run for fun...  :)

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