Becoming a Runner

***While you’re here, check out my Eating Animals giveaway!***

Running isn’t exactly a new adventure. As a kid, I loved to run. I was really tall, too, so I was faster than other kids. And being good at something is always more fun.

Toward the end of elementary school, I grew out of what athleticism I had. I had a condition (from growing so quickly) that caused my knees and heels to hurt whenever I was active. The pain was over when I stopped growing, but I still became the girl who strolled the mile run with her friends, not even caring if a low P.E. grade lowered her G.P.A. At some point, I picked up the idea that I wasn’t good at running, so I just wouldn’t do it.

To top it off, in college, I started to have shortness of breath frequently for no apparent reason. I was tested for asthma (twice, both negative), given inhalers that only made me sick, and tested for allergies. The doctors couldn’t come up with any reason for my periodic inability to breath. One doctor suggested it was all in my head. I did not like him. (Thanks to Rach’s post on why she avoids sugar and caffeine, I’m reducing those in my diet to see if there’s a connection between my mitral valve prolapse and my breathing.)

Despite all this, I knew that running is such an efficient way to exercise that I wanted to be able to do it. I’ve had quick metabolism most of my life, so losing weight wasn’t a big issue, but I wanted to get in the habit of exercising so that when my metabolism did slow down, starting to exercise wouldn’t be a shock to my system.

Over the past few years, I’ve tried to get in the habit of running.

In 2009, I downloaded some couch to 5K podcasts. I ran in late spring, and then not again until early fall. The podcasts had really freaky techno music that I hated, and I never started to feel good during or after runs.

Last summer, I downloaded the Couch to 5K app that let me listen to my own music. The beginning of each week was difficult, but I did fine until Week 5. Day 1 is three five-minute runs. Day 2 is two eight-minute runs. Day 3 is one twenty-minute run. I tried Day 3 a few times, and when work got busy, I wasn’t sorry to give up the discouragement I felt each time I ran.

This spring, a boy in one of my classes made a remark about girls not being able to do sports. I co-teach that class with a very athletic woman who was All American Softball player years ago. It was a little bit amusing to see her writhing, trying to take advantage of an opportunity to teach when all she wanted to do was smack this kid’s head off his shoulders. What she didn’t anticipate, however, was that when she pulled up her first-grade son’s research on her laptop and gave an impromptu lecture on the life of Wilma Rudolph, it would make more of an impact on me than on the sassy little instigator in our class.

I began to think to myself, If a woman who doctors never thought would walk can set world records in running, then certainly I can run three miles.

So, on the evening of Easter Sunday, I started to run. I felt sick for two days afterward, but I was determined not to give up on the first day! Since then, I’ve run 2-4 times a week. A few weeks ago, I hit Couch to 5K’s Week 5 again and couldn’t finish. I tried over and over, and became more and more discouraged. I had a new pair of cute shoes, bought for a different reason, sitting at my house as a reward for when I finished Week 5. Unfortunately, even the promise of new shoes didn’t give me the ability to run much longer than 13 minutes.

I decided to pick up some books on running at the library, thinking that maybe they’d help me power through the 20 minute run or at least give me motivation.

I read through The Complete Book of Running for Women* over the course of a week. Even reading about things that were far above my head motivated me to run, so that someday, I could have a reason to use that information. The best thing I gleaned from the book was a new running plan. I realized that just because C25K is the cool way to get started running, doesn’t mean that it is the best way for me. I was disappointed to have to start at Week 3, but I am currently on Week 5 and I’m on track to earn my new shoes on Sunday!

So, in a way, running is an old adventure for me. However, each new week of my training program is a new adventure because I’m running more than I ever have before. This week, I’m running three eight-minute intervals with two minute breaks in between. In five more weeks, I should be able to run three miles!

Find more Try New Adventures at Alicia’s Homemaking.

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17 thoughts on “Becoming a Runner

  1. …sigh… you are so inspiring! I’ve been trying work out too! Your story sounds just like mine. I need to get my skinny butt up and run! Thanks for the kick in the butt!!

  2. I’m not much of a runner, although I have been wanting to get started. From time to time, my knee bothers me, so that has been a bit of a hurdle. I did do my very first 5k walk this year. My TNAT link is actually the 2nd 5k walk that I just did. It’s not a run, but at least it’s a start. Thanks for inspiring us! You can do it!

  3. Glad to hear my post helped out… or might help out? Haha! Before I gave up sugar/caffeine I definitely had shortness of breath, palpitations and frequent dizziness. So hopefully cutting back will help you too!

    And girl, I LOVE that you stuck to this even though it has been so difficult. You are so inspiring! Excited for you that you will get to rock those shoes so soon. :)

  4. So, are you going to join us next week? I’m planning on Mon and Wed, but Shelly and Lawaune might run more than that. Lawaune won’t let you give up, even if you give her dirty looks.

    • Shelly said you guys are thinking nights, but I’m trying not to run at night because then I can’t fall asleep. It sounds like you had a pretty intense run last week! I’m not sure if I’m ready for that level of training since it’s taken me 2.5 months to get this far. (And I don’t easily let myself off the hook.)

  5. I’m way proud of you Kelsey!! Running is a crazy creature that has so much to do with mentality than people think. I think it took a while for me to realize that running {especially races} is more about beating that little voice in your head that says you can’t more than beating other people.

    I’ll look into the book so I can have some tips for starting back to my long runs this winter. Fingers crossed I can do the half marathon again in February.

  6. Very inspiring! :) I am still trying to get out of the mentality that I’m not a runner. I used to be very athletic, but since having kids, things have changed. haha! Maybe I’ll get back to it. :)

  7. What an inspiring story, way to go! I agree with Sarah-SO much of running is mental, sounds like you’re sticking through hard days!

    I have run in the past but bad weather spring/summer in Seattle and my baby have made it challenging err given me lots of excuses not to run. Perhaps it’s time I just jump back in! Can’t wait to hear how Sunday goes.

  8. The art director I work with, JJ, is 23 and a runner, and when JJ told his friend that he just signed up for our 401(k), his friend replied, “Oh really, how far is that?”

    Oh, and I’m proud of your persistence in running. Your heart will be happier. :)

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