After several false starts, I started running for real during graduate school. And I have mostly kept up with it for the 10 or so years since then. I am by no means a fast runner. My strength is more in consistency, and at least at one time, distance. For an introvert like me, there is nothing more energizing than a long, solitary run. I usually don’t even run with any music, just my own rambling thoughts. I think of myself as a runner–I am running for more than just the health benefits.
Back in 2000 I started racing a bit. Not to win by any stretch of the imagination; I liked the structure of training and the tracking of official race times. And then I started training to run a marathon. Long runs along the Charles River with pocketsful of GU and water bottles hanging off me. Bliss.
My goals for the first marathon in 2001 were 1) finish, 2) run the whole way, 3) finish in under 5 hours. I did finish, but there was quite a bit of walking towards the end. And my official time was 5:00:01. No kidding.
After that one, I was in a lot of pain. And took some time off from running. But that 1 second kept bothering me. So I decided to run the marathon again in 2002. I trained harder and smarter. I ran a good half marathon and felt strong until the day of the race. The day dawned humid….and I just wasn’t that motivated–and to run for > 4 hours, you need some serious mental juice. I also overestimated my abilities and started out with the 4:15 pace group, which was running ahead of pace. Needless to say, there was a lot more walking at the end of this one, and I finished in 4:27:xx. Better than my first by a lot. But at 5 hours, there had been ample room for improvement.
The next year, I was pregnant. And running, but no marathons! Ran until 32 weeks of pregnancy (just did long walks after that)…and then took a long break once C was born. I have been running again for over 2 years now, but working full time and with a kid, well the long weekend runs just aren’t possible anymore. I guesstimate that I am only logging about 12-15 miles a week now.
I think I still have a good marathon left in me, but not anytime soon. I am thinking about testing the waters with a nice half marathon. We’ll see.