I started running in October 2015. I completed the Couch to 5K program and soon after quit. I decided I wanted to give it a try again so in March of 2016 I completed the Couch to 5K program again. This time I was determined to make it work. Being a Fitbit addict I wanted to be able to get my 5 miles or 10K steps in the fastest time possible! I decided the only way that I would continue running in the beginning was signing up for races, about 1 per month, so thats what I did…
I ran my first (technically second since I did this same race years ago and never did one again) mud run obstacle course 5K in June 2016. I finished in 42:15 (13:36 pace). This run was tough, lots of muddy obstacles and climbing up and down. Also, lots of waiting to enter the obstacles. I remember at the start of the race I saw a really fit looking couple and then I immediately thought, “why am I doing this? I’m going to embarrass myself… everyone else is stronger and fitter than I am and I’m going to come in last place.” About 3/4 of the way through the race I passed that “fit looking couple”. They were walking and I was still running. I felt pretty great about myself in that moment and I knew I should have never judged a book by it’s cover. Anyway… the race was fun, kind of ha!
In July I signed up for a local 5K which was a small race in a nearby park. This race I got my 5K PR of 26:46 (8:37 pace) which I was proud of since I was a beginner (I still consider myself a beginner). I definitely pushed myself during this run without knowing it since I only had a Fitbit (which is not accurate since the one I have doesn’t go by GPS) and I had no clue what my pace was… I just ran. I was pretty exhausted by mid-race. I don’t think I did the “fly and die” technique but I defiantly didn’t grasp how to pace myself or even know what my pace should have been for that matter during this race. Overall it was a very easy course, all flat and there wasn’t that many other runners since it was a local race.
My next race was in August, it was the Camp Chingachgook challenge 10K. I didn’t realize when I signed up for this race that it would have so many hills (note to self: research the race and race routes/maps before committing, ha). Rolling hills the entire time! I really wanted to get a sub 1 hour time but ended up getting a time of 1:00:29 (9:44 pace). Even though I was a little disappointed that I didn’t finish under an hour I was so proud of myself for completing my first 10K without walking and I passed by plenty of people which was an added bonus. Also, I actually went to this race alone which was kind of sad… I’ll try not to do that again! It’s always nice to have someone cheering for you when you get to that finish line!
The next race I ran was in October. It was the Great Pumpkin Challenge in the Saratoga State Park. I ran this race in 56:01 (9:01 pace) which was a 10K PR. This race went well but it was very crowded in the beginning and difficult to pass people which was probably a good thing since it helped me not to “fly and die”. I ended up over dressing and dropping one of my gloves which I had to go back and pick up. There were some tough hills on the second half and a lot of random sharp turns on walkways which was a little awkward but all in all it was a good race.
After that last race I ran here and there and once it became to cold/snowy I kind of fell out of running again. This lasted a couple months through the holidays until I decided that I needed to try to run again before I lost my ability and would need to start all over. I ended up going for a run on a random warm day over the winter and it felt amazing. I decided right then and there that I needed to have running in my life, I needed the way running made me feel. I started doing some research online and found a local half marathon. Without really thinking I found a training plan (Hal Higdon Novice 1 Half Marathon training plan) and started the plan without even signing up for the race. It wasn’t until 2 weeks before the race when I ran my first double digit run that I felt confident enough to actually sign up for the half. I will NEVER forget that run. It was the kind of run where everything goes right. Beautiful cool day, nice breeze, and my body was feeling amazing and energized. I ran 10 miles of the race course that day and when I was done I immediately went home and signed up for the race.
I ran the Lake George Half Marathon in April 2017. It was a really hilly course that ran along the lake and since I had run on it two weeks prior I felt confident and was beyond ready to go. I had gotten the perfect fuel that I had tested before the race, I had the perfect breakfast and a good nights sleep. I was feeling AMAZING and was keeping a pace in the low 9’s without much effort.
Everything was near perfect until mile 6-7 when I stepped down funny on my left leg and felt a pain. It was a mild pain, I could defiantly feel it but it wasn’t too bad. Then at mile 9.5 on a huge incline I realized my leg was HURTING bad! I could barely run but there was no way I was going to stop since my main goals were to 1- keep running, 2- finish, and 3- have fun! I kept going doing kind of a jog limp for the last 3.6 miles. My pace went from low 9’s to high 10’s and I was pretty disappointed. I knew my pace wasn’t quick enough for a sub 2 hour half which was a dream but I knew it was a huge stretch for it to actually happen anyway. I figured I would finish around 2:15 and I ended up crossing the finish line at 2:10:21 with a pace of 9:59. I really wanted my overall pace to be less than a 10 minute mile so I just made it. I really wonder what my pace would have been if I hadn’t had the shooting/stabbing pain in my leg… I’m proud I finished either way. This race was one of the biggest accomplishments of my life.
Now I need to decide what race to do next. I think I will have a goal of a sub 2 hour half marathon and maybe someday in the future go for a full marathon… maybe!