Tuesday, April 3, 2012

We all begin somewhere

I love getting my copy of Runner's World every month. It's like Christmas. I initially flip through it once and then read it cover to cover multiple times. I particularly love the ads at the end for races all across the country. That is where I've discovered several races to do including the Knoxville Half Marathon last spring and the Pensacola Double Bridge Run a few months ago.

I love this issue with Kara Goucher on the cover. She'd recently had a baby. Seriously.
In the May edition, editor David Willey discusses how we are all beginners at some point, and how runners really cheer on beginners so they can become one of us. My paraphrasing  of the editor's letter makes runners sound like a cult. And we're not...exactly.

I am flattered to frequently get questions from those who are beginners. It makes me so excited for them that they are starting, and once they get past the initial hatred of running (trust me - we've all been there), there is something about it. It's something that can't be replaced by anything else - not other cardio, not yoga, not Zumba or any other cardio fad of the moment.  Once you're a runner nothing else scratches that itch like a good, old-fashioned run.

During my first half marathon - the Nike Women's Half in October 2006
That being said I want to encourage beginners with stories of my own frustrations. Sure, I blog and post on Facebook and Twitter about how much I love running. That is true I'd say 95% of the time. Some days, like yesterday, it just sucks. Hard. I had a training run to do, and I started out after work in perfect weather (sunny, high 50s). I was breaking in new shoes that I thought would be fantastic. About a mile in I started having Achilles pain. Well not so much pain as a severely uncomfortable burning. I stopped for a minute to stretch, but it didn't help.

I ran about another mile (and by "ran" I mean "shuffled uncomfortably") before stopped to stretch again. I decided at this point I should walk again. After a few minutes of walking, I started only to have the Achilles pain turn into Achilles/shin pain. I'm pretty sure it was the new shoes (which I will be exchanging promptly), but at the end of what should've been a solid four-miler, I had run MAYBE three miles of it. Maybe not even. 

Last Friday I rocked 16 miles like a champ, and on Tuesday I couldn't even get through four. Go figure. But every good run builds you up and keeps you going through the bad ones. They certainly aren't all good. But you'll always feel better after a run than you would if you'd never run at all.

I started running six years ago in April of 2006. I remember struggling to get through those initial two mile runs. I remember that time so vividly - I can even remember the smell of spring rain during my runs. If you're just beginning I promise it gets easier. And it's rewarding. Just hang in there. And if you have to stop for a few minutes to walk, take time to smell spring.

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