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Tuesday, March 25, 2014

My Running Story

Today I wanted to share my running story with you all. I have been asked a few times how I got into running and how I got to the point where I can run multiple miles daily. I thought I would share a post with how I got to the point I am today and throw in some throwback pictures because, well, why not?
As a kid, I never really stuck to one sport. I knew I wasn't one of those girls that would be super athletic and participate in multiple sports. I did dance throughout preschool and elementary school participating in ballet, tap, jazz, and hip hop, but didn't end up sticking with it. Throughout elementary school I was always in swim lessons and as much as I loved swimming (and still do) I knew it was something I wouldn't compete in. My older brother was on the varsity swim team throughout high school but it was never something that really appealed to me. I loved swimming for the fun of it and not the competition. I did soccer when I was younger too, but again, I never stuck with it. The one activity I stuck with was Greek dance. I definitely consider it a sport! I started Greek dance in preschool (we have a dance program at our Church) and it has been a part of my life ever since. Every summer I performed at my church's festival as well as other festivals around Michigan.
When I was in 4th grade, the high school cross country team put on a one mile race for any elementary age kids to participate in. My other brother had been getting into cross country and track so I thought maybe that would be something I would do too, so I ran the race. Obviously being in elementary school I didn't train for the race and wasn't in it to win it, but I ended up in the top 10 for my age! That was when I started thinking that maybe running was for me.
I ended up joining the track and field team when I was in 7th grade and got a lot of my friends to join too. I loved that I was a part of a team and practices were basically a social hour for my friends and I. We have so many memories of practices, competing, and travelling to meets. It wasn't super competitive and I was more into it to be a part of a team and to be active. I was a sprinter, since the thought of running more than a mile was just way too much to handle. I always ran the 100m and 200m sprint and couldn't imagine running anything more. I participated again in 8th grade, sprinting again.

Once I was in 9th grade, I was a part of the high school team. I started running with people older and more experienced in the sport than me, but I still enjoyed the workouts. As the season went on, I realized how competitive it was and I felt that the coaches only helped out the runners who were going to be qualifying for states or getting a scholarship to run in college. As much as I loved running, I wasn't really sure I would participate in track and field for the rest of my high school years.

In 10th grade, I finally decided I would no longer participate on the team. I didn't like the competitiveness (I am one of the most uncompetitive people you will ever meet) and I felt ignored by the coaches. My friends that had been on the team with me were feeling the same way so most of us decided not to go back again. Throughout 10th and 11th grade I didn't really participate in any sports, but I did keep up with Greek dancing. In 10th grade, though, one of my gym electives- "stress management" was a class in which we did various workouts including abs and yoga. Being in the class introduced me to yoga and I really started to get into it. We also did those 8 minute abs workouts too and made smoothies... what a class!

In 12th grade, my parents wanted to purchase a treadmill so they could have something in the house to use to workout. We found a treadmill online from Costco and my parents ordered it and I could not wait for my dad to set it up for us to use. After weeks and weeks of begging, he finally set it up and I jumped right on! I began working out on the treadmill almost daily doing mostly sprint workouts or just walking while watching the TV. I started to feel that passion for running again and realized how much I had missed it.

Fast forward to my freshman year of college and I fell off that running high. I was walking so much to class every day that I never felt the need to workout, especially since I would have to run outdoors because I didn't have access to a treadmill indoors. During winter break, I decided to make some changes to my lifestyle- diet and fitness wise- and began participating in the 100 miles by Valentine's Day Challenge by Tone It Up. It was the perfect way to get myself back into running. The dorms across the street from me opened up a fitness room with treadmills, bikes, ellipticals, and rowing machines, so I knew I always had a way to workout. I wanted to get back into running outdoors, though, so I focused on running outside and only used the fitness room when the weather was bad enough. By the time it was Valentine's Day I had completed the challenge and was so proud of myself. I realized that if I worked hard enough I could run and I would love it. At the beginning, it was a struggle to get out and run 1 mile, but consistently running I had gotten up to about 2.5 miles, but I would walk for about .5 in the middle.
I stuck with running for the rest of that semester and when I got home for the summer I transitioned into running in the mornings to avoid the summer heat and to get my workout done before work, since I was always exhausted by the time I came home from work. I was adding mileage and was comfortably running 3 miles. I ran my first 5K (the Color Run) with my friend, Renee, and we had a blast! We may not have actually run the whole thing, but it was so much fun and I loved seeing so many people passionate about running.
This fall I started my sophomore year and my schedule allowed for me to continue to run in the mornings, which I loved. I loved being able to run then go to class and take on the rest of my day knowing my workout was done for the day. I set a goal for myself: run 5 miles on Thanksgiving. Determined, I began running either 3 miles a day or 4.4 miles a day. When I went home for Thanksgiving, I laced up my shoes Thursday morning and ran 5 miles. I was so proud of myself for running that distance and not stopping at all. I knew how much I loved running at that point.
This winter has been a tough winter for my runs. Between the holidays, getting my wisdom teeth out, and the non-stop snow and ice, it has been tough to make it outside for a run. But, it did teach me one thing, and that was to appreciate every run I was able to run. Some weeks I was only able to go outside for three runs, so I learned to take advantage of those times and really love what I was doing. I joined the 100 by Valentine's Day challenge again, but this time added a goal at the end which was to run 6 miles by the completion of Valentine's Day. By the end of the challenge I had logged in over 120 miles and ran 6 miles comfortably! I definitely felt a runner's high that day.

Right now I am focusing on getting back into running daily. Now that the weather is (hopefully) getting better, I am able to make it outside for more running and I definitely need to give my legs time to adjust. I have yet to have a 100 mile month, so I really hope to have one of those months soon-- I came so close in January! I definitely want to get into running more 5Ks and hopefully get into running 10Ks. My ultimate goal is to one day run a half marathon, but I know that may be a while and I will be patient with my body.

Looking back at my story, it amazes me to see how far I have come in running and how much I have learned to love it. Running has become an important part of my life and I hope it stays that way for years to come.

8 comments:

  1. Amazing! Thanks for sharing your story :)

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    1. Thank you for reading Victoria! :) xoxo

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  2. Awesome story! I'm glad you were able to fall in love with running again after stopping in high school. I love that Valentine's day challenge, what a great way to stay accountable in the winter!

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    1. Thanks for reading! The Valentine's day challenge was a great way to kick off the year and definitely kept me accountable despite all of the snow!

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  3. I always like finding out how people got started in a sport focused lifestyle. Thanks for sharing!

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