Monday, April 29, 2013

Why I run? Hmmmm....

So, my friend Lacy emails me and says this: "I would totally love a guest post by you for UMR (  on why you run and mention what you accomplished as a runner in a year. I think you're such a powerful runner that other moms can pull inspiration from."

I don't know about all that as I can't imagine me being an inspiration to anyone.  I'm the one who draws my inspiration from other people!  But, I decided to go ahead and help my friend out with her website and here is what I came up with:

I have tried to answer the question, "Why do I run?" I do not have an answer. I have no idea why I run except to say that it's just a part of me to do so.  However, what I can explain is is how my running has evolved over the years.

I remember running as a small child and really just enjoyed the feeling of running. At age 7, I remember beating the boys in 2nd grade in our 100 yard dash. I was always physically active and growing up in Ohio we had to walk or run to and from school. We didn't have a car so walking or running was how we got to the store and back. So, pretty much everywhere I went I walked or ran.
It wasn't until my teen years after moving from Ohio to Georgia that I started to run for exercise. I joined the track team in my junior and senior years in high school and then joined the first cross-country team in my senior year. I ran the 1 mile and 2 mile event and was the 2nd best girl on my team. I was also the second best girl on my cross-country team. I fell in love with cross-country and enjoyed trail running more than I ever did on the roads.

I continued to run through college on and off but really became burnt out on it mostly from over training and the stress of competition from my track coach. He meant well, but it was too much pressure because I had always ran for enjoyment and now I was being pushed to run. Running for time became a new concept and one that has stuck with me for life. I just can't seem to shake it or the self-inflicted pressure I feel when I race. However, it's a good stress because it drives me to do my best and to stay motivated.

I took a break from running for several years in my mid 20's mostly because I incurred an Achilles tendon injury that hurt for 3 years. So,  I became a gym rat and participated in group exercise classes for 13 years.  I've tried everything except Cross-Fit and Zumba.

After the birth of my second child, and after nearly a year of exercise and trying to lose the weight, I just couldn't shake the last 10 pounds. I decided to take up running on a treadmill before my exercise class. I quickly lost the weight, signed up for a local 5k, and after 6 weeks of training, I ran the 5k in 25:32 minutes and won my age group. I've been running ever since and that was nearly 8 years ago.

I was lucky enough to break my elbow nearly 2 years ago when I fell of my bike. I couldn't continue to strength train so I began running more. I ran my first 10 mile training road run in July 2011, and it was so hard in mile 8, but I pushed through to get to mile 10. I always thought I'd like to try a 10k and so I did and won my age group there that same summer, but I still really liked the fast 5k's best.

Surprisingly my goals continued to change as I started to find local long distance runners to run with on occasion. I couldn't find anyone to run with me for 3-5 miles, but boy could I find some long distance runners!

I decided to sign up for a tough trail race in the local North Georgia mountains. It was the hardest run and race I ever ran because it was a 30k but ended up being one mile longer than advertised. I had never run 19.6 miles before. I thought that race in Nov. 2011 would kill me, but it didn't. I started seriously training on mountain trails in Jan 2012 and have been running trail marathon's and ultras ever since.

In 2012, I decided to take a race journey whereby I wanted to run and get a taste of different kinds of races.  I really just wanted to find my "niche" in the ultra world.  I ran a 12 hour trail race (38.65 miles winning first female), 24 hour race (1 mile flat loop for 70 miles placing 5th female), two 50k races, 2 trail marathon races, and a 50 mile trail race. 

So far, in 2013 I won first place overall in a 12 hour race and broke the course record running 50.7 miles over 7800 feet of elevation gain.  Then in March, I ran my first road marathon although 2/3 of this race was on back graveled roads, and 13 days later ran a 65 mile point to point race covering 31,000 feet of elevation change placing 8th female.

It's amazing to me,  that as a 42 year old wife, mother, and full-time working nurse,  that I have recently become stronger and faster. I never expected it. I am just thrilled to have had the opportunity to push myself farther and harder, running the trails I love, and that I once thought I could never do.  Somehow,  I just appreciate it more in a way that I never thought would happen for me. But, I'm so happy that I didn't give up and that I continue to try.  I know that if I can do this than anyone can.

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