I am a typical runner. I also like good beer. There is no feeling like a good cold beer after a hard summer run. It’s my fave; hence the name (girly beer runner). I’m proud of my PR’s, but I am firmly in the ‘B group’. I will likely never win a race, but like to think I make up for my lack of speed with overwhelming fun! In training for my first full marathon, I wanted to use this blog to embrace all the training (good an bad). I’ve also blogged about other random thoughts here.
I run a lot, and enjoy blogging about it, so I don’t annoy all my friends and family members with all the details of my running when they really don’t care 🙂 Also, “girly beer runner” because I like good strong beer (not “girly beers”, although maybe I can change the concept that girly beers are actually strong beers like IPAs, stouts, etc), but I also like high heels and shopping, and other girly things… Thanks for reading! For the long-winded version, see below, or check out older blogs 🙂
Now, I run because it makes me happy. The thudding footsteps are meditation. And I consider that you don’t really know what a person’s made of until you run with them. I love my running buddies (good friends talk about their sex lives; best friends talk about poop). I run for me time. I run because it’s cheaper than therapy (and more effective). It’s also cheaper than drugs (and more effective). I’m not just making time to run, I’m making time for me.
The full story-
I’ve always been an athlete. Growing up, I was a competitive gymnast. I was, ironically, the freakishly tall amazon-like gymnast (at 5’2). Do not repeat this, but I was a cheerleader… As a cheerleader, we had to run a 8:00 mile. If we couldn’t do a 8:00 timed mile (mine were usually about 8:00-8:15), we were forced to run an additional 3 miles near our school. I hated every minute of it. We also had to run a 8:00 mile in PE to get a A in the class. I was morally opposed to the blind bigotry that running was more of a sport than timed sit-ups or push-ups, or even pull-ups, or back handsprings, which I aced every time. So I refused to run during PE. I would walk the entire time, and made a C in the class. Yep, I was real smart. I really showed that PE coach! ha!
In college, I ran through bad break-ups. I never understood a proper training program. I just knew the gut-wrenching intervals matched my internal pain. And that felt good.
Yeah, my early running memories weren’t fond.
Finally, in college, I met a boy. He was a runner. Like crazy fast runner (imo). Without training, he ran sub-18-minute 5Ks. He always made me feel like my 10-minute miles didn’t count for any of that. So I begrudgingly ran. We moved to San Diego. And I started really running. I hated it. Still. I signed up for my first 5K. And I signed him up. I signed us up for a 5K a month before we broke up. I finished my first 5K in November 2008 in 30:30. He finished in 17:24. I decided I never wanted to race again. But once I got over the “I ran to please him… I no longer want to please him, so I will no longer run” phase, I started running again, with a friend and co-worker. She suggested we do a half-marathon; Vegas, in December. I laughed. We could barely run two miles without stopping. How long is a half marathon again?
In 2009, I moved back to Raleigh, NC. At the age of 24, I was living with my dad. I love my dad, and we’re close, but it was a big knock to my ego. I had two odd jobs within a month of being home, and I started a new job in January, 2010 (Still there). But it was only part-time- 20 hours/week. And I felt antsy. So I made it my new year’s resolution in 2010 to get back into running- for my health. It’s the best way to burn calories. By April, I was able to run 4 miles without stopping, and was so proud. I called my coworker from San Diego and told her I wanted to do Vegas. For real. I was ready. And motivated. She was excited and agreed.
My first half marathon was my third race ever. I estimated my time at 2:45, and really had no idea what to expect and was super nervous. I started in the 26th corral, and finished with people in the 13th- 2:17:30. I was so proud, and had no one to share it with. No friends were at the finish line (my coworker had not trained, and didn’t end up running). I cried, and wasn’t sure if it was because I was so happy, or because I felt so lonely. But I caught the racing bug.
I wanted more.
In May 2011, I did my second half marathon- a hilly and traily one. And it sucked. I realized quickly I’m not so bad ass that I can fore-go training and not hurt. I could barely walk the day after. But somehow set my sights on completing a full marathon in the fall.
Turns out my body didn’t want to run a full marathon in 2011. I ended up in physical therapy for a month or so for a tilted pelvis. And, I had no running to fall back on during times of stress. I missed it greatly.
Early in 2012, I decided this was the year I take back my life. I signed up for a training program to PR a half marathon that went February-April. I ran Nashville in 2:08:02 (almost 10 minutes off my first time). And I met a bunch of great friends- a few that I consider great life friends, not just running buddies. I did another half that June- 2:12:01.
Now, I run because it makes me happy. The thudding footsteps are meditation. And I consider that you don’t really know what a person’s made of until you run with them. I love having my running buddies. I run for me time. I run because it’s cheaper than therapy (and more effective). It’s also cheaper than drugs (and more effective). I’m not just making time to run, I’m making time for me.
I ran my first (full) marathon November 10, 2012. Woo! What a feeling- to cross the finish line (and about 10 minutes before I had estimated/expected). 4:30:39. I have quite a few recaps of the Richmond Marathon, so search for it, and you’ll see all my feelings on it. But I signed up for 2013’s Richmond marathon within days of coming home.
Spring of 2013 started off perfect… I was in a new relationship, I was getting faster and faster by the day. I felt like I was getting stronger and stronger. Except for a nagging pain in my side (literally). I kept running, and kept breaking records, including a few sub-90 minute 10 mile runs. I was confident I would break 4:00 later in the year at the Richmond Marathon!
In March, I started feeling a tightness in my abs when running. It felt like I was a noob all over again- like a cramp. I kept running through it until I couldn’t ignore it anymore. I went to the doctor in May, and kept trying to find a doctor who knew what was wrong with me (I mostly got puzzled looks, and a prescription for muscle relaxers). Finally, in August, I found a “solution”. I went to a chiropractor, who told me my body had been slowly twisting on itself, resulting in several muscular tears, that were not healing on their own.
By November, I was able to run 4 or 5 miles again, but had lost a lot of speed, from lost muscle, gained fat, and lost endurance. I worked so hard over the winter months.
Finally, in February, I was able to run 10 miles again. It’s still slow to come back, and I get scared to jinx it most days, and choose to go slow unless I am racing.
But, I am becoming a stronger runner everyday. And I love that feeling- that I am improving. And getting more and more consistent. I never even thought I’d ever consider myself a runner. But, all of this came from just checking one thing off my bucket list.