Thursday, June 18, 2009

Once upon a time...

OK not really.
But somebody did request that I tell how I got into running.
So I thought I would share.
Even though the more I think about it, I realize that it is not a real dramatic story with warm fuzzies or anything.
Basically, I just took advice from Nike: JUST DO IT

Boring background info...
I ran some during physical therapy school and even did a 1/2 marathon with some of my classmates.
It was all in an effort to lose the freshman 40 that I put on in college and could not seem to shake.
Then I got engaged and in order to look good in my dress, I kept running.
However, the day after we got married I quit.
And I got really lazy.
And then the freshman 40 started to creep back.
That was in 2002-2003.
Now fast forward to the summer of 2007...
I do well with goals.
I like to have something to work toward.
I like to have people to keep me accountable.
And I needed something to get my butt in gear again.
So my brothers and I got a wild hair to run the Disney marathon in January of 2008.
We thought it would be something fun that we could do together and it gave us all a goal to work toward.
I had ~6 months to go from running 0 miles to 26.2 miles.
And it was a hot Alabama summer.
Yes, I had done some running before.
But I was starting from scratch here.
So I just started doing something.
{for some reason, i do not like being "confined" to a certain training program. i am stubborn i guess. my way is probably not the best way to do it. there are many good training programs out there. take advantage of them. don't use mine.}
This is a good training program:
Cool Running Couch to 5K
Soooo I started by making it my goal to walk/run for 30 minutes as many days a week as I could.
I would walk some, then run a few minutes, walk some more and then run some.
Gradually I was be able to run more than I could walk.
There were days that really stunk and I did not make my 30 minute goal.
There were days that were really good so I tried to go longer than 30 minutes.
{keep in mind that I started doing this during the heat of the summer, so i did do some of my running inside on a treadmill. experts would probably tell you that this is not a good idea since the treadmill is not at all like running on solid ground. you know, the ground doesn't move for you like the treadmill does. but, being the stubborn person that i am, i figured that it was better to be doing something rather than nothing because it was too hot outside!}
And after about 3 months I could run 3 miles without stopping.
It wasn't pretty nor was it fast, but I could do it.
I was still a long way from where I needed to be by January, but I was on my way at least.
So I just gradually built on what I could do.
During the week I would try to do 3-5 miles Monday-Thursday.
Not everyday was a good one, so I did not always get as far as I wanted.
And some days I just did not feel like doing anything at all.
So I really tried to take advantage of the days where I felt really good.
Friday was a day off.
Saturdays became "long runs" where I would go 6, 7, 8...13, 14, 15 miles.
Sunday was a day off.
I never got as far as I probably should have according to most marathon training programs, but when marathon day came around I was able to do it.
I probably walked about a mile or so of the 26.2, but I did it.
And that sense of accomplishment is like no other!
It was even cooler to have trained for it and completed it with my brothers.

Then I just kept running.
I promise that it gets easier.
I still like setting goals and working toward stuff.
I still have days {many days} where I feel terrible and don't make it very far.
It does help to have fun friends to run with and keep me accountable.

And I really like the sense of accomplishment and how good I feel on a day when I run.

{and you should feel a sense of accomplishment if you have read this whole thing}.
I am no expert by any means but if you have any questions, let me know.
And being a physical therapist, I highly recommend several specific leg strengthening exercises.
If you want 'em, let me know and I will hook you up.
Happy running!



Lisa said...

Hey - I need your PT advice - hook me up with the leg strengthening stuff!! :) I've been on the treadmill four days in a row - longer each time, and walking faster. Today will be day five!!

Pam said...

Thanks so much for the post Gretchen! It really makes me feel better to know other people have bad days too. I have only run twice so far and the second run was so much harder than the first; Hopefully tomorrow will be a good run for me. I too am taking Fridays and Sundays off from training but instead of running all five days, I go to a personal trainer two days a week. I am really excited and think I can do this. Any help and advice you can give would be appreciated. I will probably ask questions from time to time too. Thanks again and have a great weekend! Pam

Shelley Burkett said...

I need to just call you sometime. I want to start walking/running, but just thinking about it makes my feet hurt (remember, I had plantar fasciitis, or however you spell it). I am in terrible shape. Horribly overweight.... But I must do something. I may try the website you mentioned. Anyway, I'll call you one of these days. I need to talk to you anyway, because it has been a million years :)

Amy L said...

I would agree that those leg strengthening exercises would be great! Loved reading your story.

Carolyn Bertram said...

Hey! Guess what...we're talking about registering "walking with scissors"! Seriously! Any leg-strengthening exercises one could do who never fully rehabbed from a medial meniscus surgery? (thus the w.a.l.k.i.n.g. with scissors) :)

Melissa Lemoine said...

Can vouch for the Couch to 5K plan. On week 4 and Im actually running more than walking!!! Look out Birmingham here I come! Very inspiring story Gretchen.... makes me believe that I will actually meet my goal!!!

g said...

this is an awesome post!! thanks so much for taking the time to share & inspire us all!
i too am doing C25k- today was Week 7 day 3 for me. I'm up to 2 miles in about 25 minutes- not fast by any means but i've come a long way from barely being able to stand running for 90sec- is a such great feeling!
I too would love the leg exercises! Not sure i can afford to fly in for the race yet- but i'm training just in case!