Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Running Fever

I can't help myself. I like to run. It's weird, because back when I played soccer (hello, a sport in which you run the entire time), I hated it. I always dreaded the days when we'd get to practice, and the coach would say, "Today you're running the Big Block," which happens to be about 1.8 miles in a giant square around the campus, and a neighborhood or two, around my high school. And even worse, I think I can only remember 1-2 times during my entire high school career that I actually JOGGED the entire thing, without stopping a single time to walk. That's pathetic.

I never really got the "freshman 15" when I went to college...actually, I think mine was more like the "senior 25" while I was still in high school. I blame this on the fact that, aside from sitting in class from 7:30am-3pm, I also worked 45 hours a week my senior year...most of which I spent sitting behind a desk greeting customers. It killed me. I got pretty overweight, and then when I went to college, I didn't gain a huge amount at once or anything, but the pounds slowly kept creeping up on me. By the time I started grad school, I was probably close to the 170-180 range. For a girl who's 5'3 3/4"...that's way too much.

So about a year and a half ago, I decided to pick up running. At that point, it really wasn't an attempt to lose weight. I honestly started doing it because I knew I was unhealthy and needed to be more active. I felt uncomfortable, to say the least, and perhaps even a little embarrassed. This may sound kinda mean, but I honestly think the thing that motivated me the most at that point in time, was that I had a roommate that was kinda a bigger girl. Not huge or anything, just kinda bigger. She started borrowing my clothes all the time. Not only did I not like sharing my clothes, I did not like the idea that MY clothes actually fit her. Sorry, I know that sounds horrible...but for me, it was that light bulb moment. I had to do something.

It all started in the dead of winter, when it was way to cold for me to even want to walk to my car in the cold, windy, crappy weather. Much less run a significant distance outside, breathing in cold air. So I started out doing a DVD workout series called INSANITY by BeachBody. I actually really like Insanity, and I actually stuck with it pretty well in the beginning, but I never actually completed the series. Back in April, I blogged about how completing the entire 60 program was on my list of hopes, dreams and plans for the next 365 days. This is still on my list, but at the moment, my living arrangement is not conducive to this goal...the living room isn't big enough. Sometime this winter, when I am back in my big ol' living room in Arkansas (which you can see here :), I will complete it.

Anyways, I digress...

On a chilly Monday in March, but one of those days that reminds you that Spring really is coming, I decided to go for a run. I couldn't run very fast, or very far, but I ended up jogging, with a few spurts of walking scattered in there to catch my breath, about 2 miles. I was so proud of myself. I got home and posted something on my Facebook about it, and my sister comments on it and says, "You should do a 5K with me sometime!" I immediately ask Google to tell me how far a 5K is...and I find out it's 3.1 miles. I ask her when the next one she's doing is, and she tells me Saturday. As in this is Monday, and Saturday is 5 days from now. I laugh. Then she tells me there is another one the following Saturday. I tell her I will do my best to run the one in 2 Saturdays from now with her...thinking I'll probably die if I even attempt to fun the full 2 miles that I walked a bit on earlier that day. I ran a few more times that week, in my attempt to train for my 5K two Saturdays away, and by the first Saturday, I figured, "What the heck? Why not? I'll just stop and walk if I get tired."

So it began. March 6, 2010 was my first time to ever run more than 3 miles at one time, which by the way, is still the 2nd most difficult 5K route I've ever run. Since then, I've done several 5Ks...probably more than I could remember to be able to count. The Hog Eye 5K in Fayetteville takes the cake on the most difficult. The easiest being the Riverfest Rock 'N Stroll 5K in Little Rock, which was my most recent 5K...in MAY. Sad :( I don't run them fast...I probably average about a 10 minute mile, or a 31 minute 5K. My fastest 5K to date was 29:57, and it was even a hilly race, but I had a little help from Koda on that one. He thinks he's a sled dog...

Since I began INSANITY/5K running (have to give credit to both), I have lost approximately 50 lbs. I say approximately, because I honestly couldn't tell you exactly what my peak weight was...a) I didn't own a scale, b) I didn't like finding out how much I weighed...scary. But I actually just recently (a few weeks ago) reach my "goal weight" of 127 lbs. I know...127 is a random number. But hey, I like random. Plus, I feel like 127 is a good weight for me...I feel comfortable, and most importantly, I feel healthy.

A friend of my sister's is organizing a running event in Huntsville, Texas in February, called the Orphan Hope Marathon. While I have no desire at this point in my life to run a marathon, it is a goal of mine to run a Half Marathon, or roughly 13 miles, and this is such a great cause to do it for! However, the longest distance I have ever ran has probably been 5-6 miles...so I've got a ways to go before I'm ready for a half marathon!

So....For the past few hours, I have been doing not much of anything but looking at race calendars for upcoming 5K/10K/Half Marathon events. And then I've been looking up training schedules for all of the above. Now right now, at 110 degrees outside, it's a little too hot for running outdoors, which is what I prefer. I really don't like treadmills. But I have been taking advantage of the 3 hrs/week that the government gives me to workout, and the free facilities to do it in on base, and settling for the treadmill/elliptical. It always amazes me how much easier the elliptical is...

So after looking up all the events I could find to do around the Arkansas/Oklahoma area (not that I'm opposed to other places...but running these things gets expensive, so I'm trying to keep it close to home to avoid major travel expenses...for now at least...until that truck is paid off ;) I have a handful of 5Ks in mind, and a good training schedule planned out. I have never actually done a 10K, but I really want to, and feel like it's a good stepping stone in preparing for my first Half Marathon. So now I'm going to add 2 new items to my list of hopes, dreams and plans for the next 365 days:

1) Run the Chili Pepper 10K in Fayetteville on October 15, 2011
2) Complete the half marathon at the Orphan Hope International Trail Run on February 2, 2012.

I may end up doing the Marathon Relay instead of the Half Marathon at that race, which I'd be okay with...each leg would either be 4.6 or 8.5 miles. But if I do that relay at that one, my goal is still to do a half marathon before my 26th birthday. I suppose the Hogeye Half Marathon is an option...it will be in April...I just have to train really hard for that one...it is an extension of the Hogeye 5K that was the hardest 5K I've ever done...yikes!

I'm looking forward to the training adventure and completing the challenge! Who's with me? :)


  1. Thanks for the encouragement! I jogged a little farther than usual last night after I read your post :)

  2. Great job, friend!
    I plan on running a half or a full for Alzheimer's in the near future.

  3. I will confess, since a few wks ago when I got back on my nutrition/exercise plan, you have come up a few times as inspiration to keep going (and keep it healthy). :) hope you make your goal :D