I am not sure when it happened, but it did. Someone asked what I was doing the next weekend and I said, “Running a ½ Marathon” they responded with, “Oh, so you are a runner” and for the first time I said, “Yes, I am!”
I do not know why it took me so long to admit that I was a runner. I had run a few half marathons, countless 5ks and other distance races but I would never, ever say that I was a runner. Here are some things that have changed, or at least shifted for me in my running career:
- I attempt to train for races: I use the word attempt because I am not 100% committed to a training plan. I do try my best, but I also have a life— 2 kids under 2, full time teaching job, husband, friends with really exciting events going on, AND big news: I am planning a 5k! I am busy and I try my best to stick to my plan but use it more as a guide then anything. In the past I would show up for a race and hope for the best. The last 2 half marathons I ran my legs really got tired around mile 10. Even though I only had 3.1 miles to go, my legs were exhausted and it seemed to take me forever to finish the last few miles. I know this is due to not properly training. I have been using a sub 2:15 plan for my upcoming spring races and again I have not completely stuck to it, but I am trying. So far I have logged the following longer distances: 5 Miles, 7 Miles, 7.4 miles, and 10 Miles! Old me would have never, ever, ever done a training run of 10 miles but I did it! It was very boring running alone and at times I was ready to turn around and just be done, but instead I put on a new song and kept going!!
- I still do not care if I run slow: I think part of my hesitations of being a “real runner” was because I ran slow. I did not push myself and was happy with running a 10:00+ minute mile. I still occasionally have miles that are 10:00+ minutes but for the most part I strive to run a 9:00-9:30 mile. I know this is still not fast by any means but it is faster then what I used to be- and it is an improvement! When running in a race (especially shorter distances) I shoot for a 9:00 minute mile but if I do not maintain that- Who cares? I still ran a race and finished! I wrote a post a few months back and this- check it out! To me it is about being better and improving and of course having fun along the way!
- I eat before I run (most of the time): I used to never care about nutrition because I worked out and that meant I could eat whatever I wanted. Eat bad, go to the gym and it’s like the box of glazed donuts never happened– Maybe when I was 16 this worked but now that I am an adult- no way! I also never used to eat before I would run. I would show up to races on a completely empty stomach and wonder why I had zero energy. The other day I was on a 7-mile training run and fell back into my old ways- No Breakfast- What a mistake! Just like the old days I had no energy throughout the run. I would run a few feet and stop, run a few feet and stop. It was terrible and honestly I am surprised I even made it 7 miles! I have found a few go-to foods that provide me with the nutrients I need before a run and are easily digestible. I have also noticed that my overall performance is much better when I am eating healthy. When I ran the Annapolis Half (which I set a 20-minute PR at) I was also doing Weight Watchers. I was making smart food choices, and really limiting my sweets and other bad foods. It really made a big difference in how I felt while running and doing other workouts. I am now a lifetime member of Weight Watchers so still loosely use their program to track what I am eating but am ready to reset and focus so my performance will improve as I get closer to my big races this spring!
- I want to run a full marathon: Wow it is officially in print. I have mentioned the idea a few times before but it is true- I want to run one full marathon. Old me would have never even entertained the idea. Every time my sister said she was training for one I thought she had lost her mind. I watched the finish line of the Marine Corp Marathon to hopefully see Courtney finish and saw people fall down and need medical attention and I said to myself- I would never do that and now here I am thinking about how I might sign up for the Rehoboth Beach Marathon which takes place in a nearby town. I still cannot believe I am saying it…I want to run a full marathon…..
- It is not about ME anymore: Running is an individual sport, so I thought. I now have a new outlook- it is about who you can impact with your running. I recently emailed a local group which organizes and helps disabled athletes and children cross the finish line of races. I am anxiously waiting to hear back from them because I want to be a part of what they do. I know how much I love the feeling of crossing a finish line and would love to be able to share that with others, especially those that cannot do it themselves. I am also organizing a 5k to raise money for the local ALS clinic- I have learned it is much easier to just show up a starting line and run a race then it is to organize one, but it has brought me such joy to see others want to help and give back to a great cause!
I must say I like the New Me! I have come a long way from my first 38:00 minute 5k and cannot wait to see what the next 7 years of running has in store for me!
So now it is your turn… How has running changed you? Have you checked your biggest accomplishment off your list yet? When did you become a “runner”?