On Learning to Run

It seems like everyone is a runner these days. And not just running a few times of week for health, but training for their third marathon, or an ultra, or a triathlon.  My social media is littered with photos of people training for serious races, just this morning I saw an 18-mile post and a trail run from a future ultra-runner (current multi-marathoner).  And those are just the one’s posting on social media, I know there are plenty more quietly putting in the miles and not announcing it. Running really is trendy right now. Which, I should first point out, means I clearly know some awesome individuals killing it in the athletic department. But also as a result, prior to starting to run I was a bit intimidated by these athletes. In my first few weeks of running I was just excited to break a 30min 5k. And while I’m still many months away from being able to run something like a marathon (if I decide I want to do that), I’m finally feeling like a legitimate runner. I drank the kool-aid and am fully infatuated with my new sport.Today I finished my first >20 mile week (22 miles!) after beginning to run three months ago. The progress is slow, as am I (I can’t seem to get my 5k time under 27 minutes), but I’m proud of how far I’ve come, especially since I spent three of those weeks recovering from injuring myself (whoops).
 Running is one of the most humbling things I’ve done. Though I was in good shape before, I quickly realized how much work would go into being able to run those long miles. How many months of dedication and early beat-the-heat runs I’d have to put in to reach my goals (which are…run far and fast?).  Running at first made me feel pretty out of shape and awkward, it took a long time to feel strong running. Admittedly, I came from a place where I could run a 5k within the first week, so I have major respect for people who put in the weeks (or months) for those couch to 5k programs, I can only imagine the dedication and patience that takes. But true enough, once I could run for 30 minutes straight I began to enjoy it instead of dread it. And now it’s like therapy. Every morning for 4-6 days a week I start my day with a run at dawn, and now that I can run for over an hour straight I can let my mind go and it becomes a sort of meditative endeavor. Plus the fact that I can basically eat what I want and not think about it doesn’t hurt. It also helps that I’m married to a natural runner, who after not running for years busted out a sub 24-min 5k (people train a lot for that sort of time) like it was no big deal. He’s hugely motivational for me, and I’d love to be able to even marginally keep up with him some day.
 I used to run in college. Well, sort of. I probably ran 1-3 miles twice a week, on and off. And though I was in good shape from other workouts, I never really got into running, I suffered a lot from side stitches and could never get to the point where I enjoyed running. So I thought it wasn’t for me. I think I just didn’t have the maturity and dedication running requires at the time. But I’m so glad I got back into it. Another fringe benefit from the camino (the hike that keeps on giving). Though I’m only three months into what I hope is a life-long relationship with running I’m excited for the challenges ahead. Plus running taps into my hyper-competitive side, and challenges me to compete against my favorite opponent (myself). Tangible and goal oriented, running is perfect for me. Plus the gear. Plus stats. And charts. It’s a type-A dream.

Next goal: a double digit run!

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