To understand my journey as a runner, its best to go back to the beginning.
I started out running as a kid with my dad. He was always a runner and would run around the block a few times a week. Eventually, one summer I asked to join him. My sister and I lived and breathed soccer, we played for our school as well as club teams so we never had time to do any recreational runner during the season. Our only “break” was the summer, and that was the time to stay in shape for the next season! However, it was also the time where I started to actual enjoy running because of my dad. We would just run a couple loops and that was it, it was our time together. My dad always worked a 8-5 job so as a kid I valued whatever time I got with him and I think that is why I decided to start running with him.
The one race I vividly remember my dad always racing was the Falmouth Road Race. It’s a seven mile race in Falmouth mass and it’s beautiful and extremely popular. There is a lottery every year! One year I decided to join with him and we would train through the summer for it. By training we would just run but eventually hit seven miles, we never did speed or tempo, just conversational running. That was the way I liked it. After the first year I was hooked. The race itself pulled me in and the training with my dad just made it better. The next year my sister also joined! And that was the beginning of it all.
Then it was the summer before high school and I was planning on trying out for the varsity soccer team. That summer I trained hard because I knew we had to run two miles in a certain amount of time to make the team. I ended up coming in first or second at the tryout for the running portion! I made he varsity soccer team and my love for soccer continued. Then I broke my ankle badly at the end of the season. I was really discouraged and had a long recovery due to surgery. While I crutched around the school the track coach tried to recruit me. I thought he was crazy, I couldn’t run! Especially not with one good leg! But he kept planting the seed in my mind.
I ended up recovering for spring track and decided to join. I loved it and he definitely helped me realize the potential I had. I was always pushing to be better but within a certain extent. He always asked me what is my competition doing? And that is where I lost compared to others. I was still all soccer, track was just fun. I never ran on weekends, I only ran at practice. I think that’s what made me good but not great. By the end of my high school track career I managed to run a mile around 5:30 and two miles in 12 minutes! Looking back at how much I love running now, I wish I had invested more time and effort because it gave me so much more than soccer.
When I went to college I stopped all sports. I ran here and there but just for fun and to stay in shape. I never really trained for anything. Near the end of my time in college I trained for a half but I just followed what my friends did. I was not interested in times or races. I had fell out of my competitive nature after years of too much pressure in soccer. I needed some years of nothing. That didn’t change until I graduated college and moved to New Hampshire for a job.
I fell back in love with running when I struggled to adjust to working everyday and wondering is this what life is? Is this everything I worked for? Is this what I have to look forward to for the next forty years? That is when I signed up for the local half. I trained as I did for races in the past with my dad. I just focused on getting my mileage up but nothing else. I finished that race with minimal training, still did well and realized I had potential. I also realized my passion for running and getting better also showed in my work. Running made me happy, working towards a goal made me inspired, and even if it was running based it also showed at work. It was then that I decided to set bigger goals and signed up for my first marathon, Napa Valley Marathon in 2015.
Honestly I just wanted a vacation 🙂 I trained all through winter by my own coaching and I only ran, nothing else. I ended up getting bursitis in my knee due to lack of stretching but my physical therapist said I could still train. To avoid pain I took a day off after every run and sometimes two days after every long run, but I made it to the start. I ran a 3:42 with minimal mileage due to my injury and no watch to track my speed. Then I got hooked on time and the ultimate goal of qualifying for Boston, besides I was only a few minutes off!
I ended up trying at a marathon shortly after Napa and it was an absurdly humid hot day in may. Needless to say it was not my BQ day. I did not recover from that race, it took weeks for my body to feel better and then I felt worse. I couldn’t even run a few miles without being exhausted. Then I took a vacation and let my body relax. I thought that would help but once my body stopped and relaxed I got really sick, I had mono. Badly! Like almost in the hospital badly, couldn’t talk, couldn’t swallow, but forced myself to drink water to avoid the hospital. I took that entire summer off from running and racing. I vowed to not run another marathon for a while, maybe my time was enough for me… it wasn’t!
I then signed up for Sugarloaf marathon with friends from work. Now that I felt great and had a long recovery I dove into training. I trained harder than ever and now that I look back, I overtrained. I ended up getting a BQ of 3:33 but I felt awful. I also couldn’t recover from that race. I had a hip injury and it still wasn’t going my way. I was ecstatic but also knew I was doing something wrong with my training.
After another summer break with only casual running I really evaluated my running. I decided I needed to add some speed or quicker runs. I added some 5ks to my calendar and realized I was pretty fast. At my first 5k at my work I ran 20:30! I was hooked, I added shorter races and some speed and knew this would help. I signed up for the local half again and ran a 1:39 which was a PR but I think I could do even better now! Shortly after I found out I missed getting a number for Boston by 18 seconds. 18! I wanted redemption so I signed up for Napa again, and decided this would be the race. I also made the jump to work with a coach, Victoria at run4prs, and she created a custom plan for me. Let me tell you, working with a coach had opened my eyes to the endless potential we all possess! This training has been my best training cycle yet and I have added strength to avoid injury, success! My marathon is 23 days away and I am so excited to run and see what I can do, but I also feel like I have discovered my true passion. I want to do for others what Victoria did for me. I want to help them overcome their past, their mistakes, their injuries and their setbacks and reach their goals. I want to be a coach. Running and learning everything running related makes me feel alive.
So now I have so many goals for 2017 that I plan to accomplish or at least make steps towards! I hope you benefit from learning from my past and also where I want to go. I would love to hear your stories!