Back in May, I was sitting in a meeting at work and we were talking about the Boilermaker 15K charity fundraising bib program. A strange vapor passed through me and I heard myself saying “Yeah, sign me up for one. I can do that.” Even though the only running that I’d ever done was for a week or so in high school cross-country before I ended up joining the marching band instead. And even though I was COMPLETELY out of shape from doing pretty much nothing for the past 2-3 years thanks to the ups and downs of Crohn’s. Luckily, our running director was sitting directly across from me and pushed one of his running program pamphlets over – the summer program was starting shortly!
That trial-by-fire was how I joined the Y Runners program and brought running into my life. I trained as hard as I could for the weeks leading up to the Boilermaker and even though I really wasn’t “ready”, I did complete the 15K! I had to walk for some parts of it (it was SO HOT), but my goal for my first race ever was to complete it before they started tearing the finish line down and to not be the last person to finish. I accomplished both of those goals and didn’t pass out or die along the way, so I was pretty proud of myself.
Soon after the race, I got hit with a Crohn’s flare and other complications and I had to take a break of about 4 weeks from running and it was weird. I actually missed it! I never thought that I’d be a person that would look forward to getting my run in for the day. I had half-heartedly tried a Couch-to-5K program in the past, but it didn’t interest me and I made beginner mistakes when I was starting out (trying to run too fast at the beginning, over-exerting myself and psyching myself out). Being a part of the Y program has been different though. Number one, there is the log. Making sure that I’m doing my base runs 4 days a week, my speed work at class, and my long run on the weekends so that I don’t have empty spaces or zeroes on my log sheet is huge. MUST KEEP LOG FILLED. Having “the group” is also key. I look forward to my Tuesday morning speed work runs with the downtown group and even though I often end up zoning out on my own for the long runs, it’s good to be accountable to showing up to stretch and touch base with others, as well as the daily encouragement and camaraderie that occurs on our closed Facebook group.
I’m still very much a beginner runner, but it’s definitely an ingrained part of my life now. I’m looking forward to trying to run the Boilermaker again next year to see how much my finish time will improve with a year of training under my belt. I’m already amazed at how I’ve gone from huffing and puffing through 15 minute base runs to being able to confidently jog at least 30 minutes 6 times a week. I’m attempting my first hour long run this weekend as I work my way up to the 90 minute long run base time.
This intro to running came at the right time and right place for me. I appreciate that you don’t need a lot of “stuff” to run – just a pair of sneakers, really. But yes, I’m not the fastest or best, but I do it almost every day each week. I think that makes me a runner now.