I never expected to like running. I'd tried it, each time going out too fast and feeling crappy, then giving up. When my friend asked me to join a running class in 2005, I thought I'd go once to check it out but didn't plan to stick with it. But then I met the coaches from Tortoise and Hare in Ann Arbor, Michigan, where I was living and attending graduate school.
The Tortoise and Hare running class was separated into two groups, beginners and those who could run already. Of course, I started with the beginners. On my first day we began by running 30 seconds, walking 30 seconds, and (for those who had HRMs) monitoring heart rate to stay within our aerobic threshold. For the first time, I slowed down and realized running could feel good even if I was super slow.
That evening, I went to the running store and bought my very own Polar Heart Rate Monitor. I continued to go to the class, moving from 30 second intervals to one minute, adding hill workouts and lactate threshold workouts. Dare I say I started to think I could be a runner and I was pumped about it. I started dreaming of going farther, maybe a marathon, and running with the more advanced group. The class went well and I finished the semester-long session.
In 2005 I visited San Francisco for a Developmental Biology conference, which was the same weekend as the Marathon/Half Marathon/5K. I entered and ran my first 5K there and told myself that someday I'd run the Golden Gate Bridge with the half.
After the class session ended, I stuck with it for a while - but eventually a past knee injury from college started creeping back up on me and I stopped running regularly. I went out to run off and on, sure, but I didn't keep pushing myself to get better and more fit. This went on for a couple of years, during which time I watched my friend run half marathons and a full marathon and wanted that for myself but didn't think I could do it.
In 2008, my husband and I decided to attempt climbing Mt. Hood. I knew I needed to be in shape and that my normal elliptical training wasn't going to give me the endurance to enjoy the climb. I again began a running routine, 3 miles or less at first and then started to train for a 10K with my already-a-runner husband. The next thing I knew I was addicted - and I signed up for my dream race, the San Francisco Half Marathon across the Golden Gate Bridge!
Finishing that race fueled my love for endurance running events and brought me to where I am today. I love running, feeling the wind and hearing the rhythm of my feet on the ground. I improve my times slowly as I gain endurance and fight through the mental component of running. My husband and I often run together, giving us time to chat and enjoy each other's company. Moving to the Bay Area has been a treat for running because the weather is fabulous and there are so many races to choose from. I've completed many half marathons and shorter races and one marathon, and I hope to keep enjoying the run for a long time to come.
My advice to anyone who thinks they can't run - give yourself a chance and you might be surprised.