Tuesday, October 20, 2009

My Running

Where do I start…My first run was the mile run in gym class. I was in OK shape from other sports but one mile running seemed like an eternity and I hated it! This feeling of hatred for running left a lasting impression as I didn’t do it again for about 10 years. After my second child was born I started to focus more on being in better shape. I was not overweight . Ironically, I was the thinnest I have ever been at this point. I just wanted to be healthier and wanted to set a healthy example for my children. I decided to throw on my lawnmowing shoes and get myself back in shape. I lived in Texas at the time and it happened that I would be visiting my family in Minnesota for 2 months. I talked my sister, Christy into getting into shape with me and we started our healthy transformation. This included a 2 mile run every morning and short handheld weight and ab session. We started to see some results and felt generally so much better. We extended a run to 4 miles one day which was a marathon for us and we felt great!! Soon I had to head home to Texas and the 100 degree heat and we no longer had this little healthy companionship. I continue to run for awhile when I could but never more than 2 miles and only about 3 days a week. Pretty soon the heat caught up with me and I stopped running and resorted to walking daily with the kids in the stroller.

In 2003 we moved back to Minnesota and built a house about 4 miles from town. There were ATV trails that led all the way to town and I would run about 2 miles almost everyday in the summer months down these trails. About 3 years ago, I decided to enter a local 5K race. I had no intention of racing this 3.1 miles. In fact, my longest run in the past few years had been 2.5 miles and I just wanted to complete the race. I had never worn a watch and had no time goal. I finished in 24:54. I didn’t know if this was good or bad and I was so tired I thought I would pass out. To this day I have never matched this feeling of accomplishment. I began running 3 miles a day and entered another 5K 3 weeks later. I finished in 22:21 and won my age group. I could feel this might become an addiction but sure enough winter set in and I lost all desire for running. The next summer was a wash. Summer of 2008, my sister Laurie had taken up running and it started to motivate me again. While on family vacation in June, my dad, my sister Christy and I started running our daily 2 miles. We made a commitment to run the Manitoba half marathon the following summer together which would fall on Father’s Day. We felt that this would be an attainable goal with a lot of hard work even though 13.1 miles was unimaginable at the time. I began running everyday and increasing my daily mileage to 3-4 miles before I ran another local 5K in July. I finished this race in 24:04. I felt terrible, and very disappointed as I felt I had been working so hard. I entered another 5K. I fell apart and quit this race. I started to feel very frustrated. Fortunately, I did not give up and decided to work harder. I decided to run to town and back from my house one day (8miles). It was slow but I completed it and started to feel rejuvenated. The next week, my sister Laurie invited me to do a 10 mile training run with her (she was training for the Twin Cities Marathon in October). To my surprise I was able to keep up with her and although very very tired, I started to gain a lot of confidence. I decided I couldn’t wait until the next summer and entered my first half marathon in September of 2008. I also talked my dad and two of my sisters into running this. I worked very hard and completed it in 1:43:46. My sister Christy, pregnant at the time, my dad, and my sister Laurie also did very well.

I was on the ultimate high now and it was 4 weeks from my sisters marathon. The week after the half she was running a full 26.2 miles. I decided to join her for some of it to keep her company. My husband was going to pick me up at the halfway point. I shook him off and finished the whole marathon distance in 3:48. My ears were ringing, I couldn’t see, and my feet were so sore but I felt amazing. This was mistake number one. Now that I knew I could complete 26 miles I decided to run 20 the following weekend. This makes for a half marathon race, a marathon, and a 20 miler in a two week time span with a base of about 30 miles a week. A couple of days later I woke up and couldn’t stand. I still pushed through this annoying pain in the back of my left leg until I tore my hamstring and could no longer even walk. Lesson learned. I was forced to swim for cardio exercise in the winter which eventually died out as my life became so busy traveling with my kids (they all play competitive ice hockey).

In April, I decided to register for the Twin Cities Marathon and I had already registered to run the Fargo half marathon on May 9th,2009. I didn’t really get started into training until April and I went into Fargo not nearly as prepared as I should have been. My husband also decided to run this to help inspire me. He is an excellent athlete but at this point had never been much of a runner. I finished in 1:43:49 and was the most tired I have ever been. I didn’t think I could even make it to the finish. My husband did well but ended up with a stress fracture and shin splints from not training at all. Fortunately, I didn’t have any injuries and was able to keep training and increasing my mileage.

Father’s Day 2009 marked our Manitoba Half marathon. It was so great to go to the starting line on Father’s day with my dad (57 years old). It was 83 degrees and sunny, the battery died on my watch at mile 2, I was so soaking wet with sweat, but I finished in 1:41:59. I was thrilled to see my improvement since I also felt so much better in this race. I started a training program for TCM and continued to increase my mileage. On July 4th, I ran my first 5K in a year. I finished in 21:20 and won my age group. Things were going well. I was afraid of running the local 5k that I had bombed last year and opted to run it with my 8 year old daughter as her first race. We finished in 28 flat. Pretty good for 8 years old if you ask me!! I ran my first 10K in August before running the Dick Beardsley half marathon in September for the second year. I finished in 1:37:32. My goal was 1:40 so again I was thrilled and proud of myself for running smarter and more evenly.
I was now 3 weeks out from TCM. This is where my craziness began. I began to doubt my abilities to Boston Qualify which was my goal. I wasn’t sure how I would react emotionally if I didn’t achieve this goal, and I was afraid of it. I obsessed nearly every minute of every day for 3 weeks. For some reason, the night before the marathon I felt a great peace. I slept 8 hours and went to the starting line with a confidence I hadn’t felt in weeks. I knew that morning I would achieve my goal and finished in 3:25:23. My sister Laurie also qualified running 3:26:50 and my dad completed his first marathon in 4:20. AMAZING!! This began my journey to Boston and from this day on is documented in this blog!


TX Runner Mom said...

Wow, with those paces I would say you were meant to run! Great re-cap of your running so far, I look forward to reading more!

Wendy said...

WOW! I was thinking we had a lot in common until I saw your pace and your marathon times. You're awesome! Way to go!

Anonymous said...

I absolutely loved reading about your running journey!!

Unknown said...

Hi Jenn, love the blog! We've organized an adult running camp that will be held this July in Vermont and we would like to invite you and your followers! Would you be willing to write a post about our camp? Please check out our website at www.werun2win.com and send me an e-mail when you get a chance - bonnetteproductions@gmail.com. Thanks! -Emily

Amanda@runninghood said...

Wow, you've obviously got some natural running talent! Great story. Do your kids like to run too? I'm hoping that at least one of my three kids will love running and be good at it. :)

Nathan said...

What a fun read :) ! I had a similar feeling about running in high school and did well in the mile and a half test, but avoided track.
It sounds like you have had some amazing progress and also have learned a lot from each of your races.
What a journey!