As I stated in my “About” post, running has been a catalyst for change in my life. I have always considered myself a fairly fit and strong person. Before I began running, it was not uncommon for me to hike 10 to 12 miles in a day, and my usual exercise was a 3 mile walk. I began running thinking it would be a way to get in better shape for backpacking trips, which we started doing last year. After all, I felt like my walks hardly raised my heart rate. I started very slowly with a home-made couch to 5k program that worked for me. I ran my first 5k – that is, not the race, but the distance without stopping – in July of last year. Running just really took off for me after that. By November, I was running distances of 10 miles.
The changes came not just in my looks, although I was shocked to drop nearly 20 pounds and 4 dress sizes without dieting. To the contrary, I was eating more than ever before. But the desire to properly fuel my runs has really changed my diet. I completely gave up soft drinks. I hadn’t been a big pop drinker since college, but I gave it up altogether for lots and lots of water. Then, I nearly completely gave up alcoholic beverages because I noticed a lack of energy on running mornings after I had alcohol the evening before. I noticed that meat does not agree with my digestive system if I am running frequently. We have become 90 percent vegetarian. The next step is weaning myself off of sugar – that is going to be seriously difficult.
Another change has been in my outlook. I get far fewer headaches or bouts of depression when I run. I am excited looking at my pictures because I realize I am making changes every day that help me to be closer to the person I really want to be. Running has helped me to feel more in control and powerful. If I can run, I can CHANGE THE WORLD! Or at least my world.
This spring, Shandy and I ran together our first race. It was a 15k (9.3 miles) in Midway. The highlight of the race was a mile and a half long pull up Memorial Hill. It was so exhilarating to make it up the hill passing people who had stopped to walk. And then we got to fly back down! We ran a 5k with my work Healthy Lifestyles program along with our two oldest kids in the summer. And I have had the racing bug badly ever since.
I was not able to train for a marathon this year. By the time I decided to train, there were few races left nearby, and the one I really wanted to run was on a weekend I really couldn’t run it. And every time I extended my mileage, I got an injury that needed some time for recovery. So I put off marathon training for next year.
Today, we ran a 10k in Orem. It was to benefit the Hale Center Theater in Orem, and it was another fun experience. We ran down a steep hill to begin the first 2 miles and then had to come back up another part of that hill to the finish line. Shandy had to run away from me at the end, beating my time by over a minute. I ran the fastest time I have run yet, averaging an 8:20 mile and finishing in 50:33. We both finished first in our age group, although I was about 7 minutes behind the overall winners.
Next week we are going to St. George for me to run my first half marathon! Although I have run the distance many times, I am certainly nervous about finishing. I have to concentrate on not going out too fast!
Tomorrow: a great race recovery soup recipe: Vegetarian Mulligatawny.