Growing up, I hated running. It was a part of my life only when it had to be… running from monsters, playing tag on the playground, conditioning for sports (I had a brief stint with soccer in my middle school days)… and then it became obsolete by the time I got to high school. The Cheerleaders didn’t really have to run so I went from running the odd mile in gym every year to not really running anywhere.
Then, something happened. When I was in my junior year in high school, my body started to change. My hips started to widen, my boobs got a little bigger, and the clothes I had worn for so long didn’t really seem to fit anymore. “OH NO!” I thought, “I’m getting FAT.” Easy conclusion to come to, especially when every little teenybopper in high school seems to wear a size zero and have a flat stomach. Really, I was developing and changing into a woman. However, I was determined to try and control this in anyway that I could. So, I decided to try and develop an exercise routine, you know, to “keep the weight off”. My dad and sister ran for exercise, so I could do that too. All you needed was a pair of running shoes and a path, right?
Let me just tell you that I could barely run a quarter of a mile without thinking that I was going to die. I slowly progressed over time, adding little by little until I could run 3 miles completely without collapsing on the ground. This took several months and became my go-to workout throughout my college years. Most days of the week, I would hit the pavement or the treadmill and log my 30 minutes/3 miles, whatever came first. I was content with this routine for many years and only became curious to pursuing more when I moved to Chicago.
Chicago is built right smackdab into Lake Michigan and my apartment was nestled two blocks form the lake. Bonus about this location? Amazing running paths that extend for miles in both directions. I solidly continued with my 3 mile routine before or after work until I noticed a ton of people seeming to go a lot farther. And runners wearing T-shirts claiming they’d run this race or that race. I became very interested in a challenge for myself. I looked up races in Chicago in the future and convinced my dad and brother-in-law to sign up for a few with me. I downloaded a training plan from some running website, and I was determined to succeed.
That’s kind of how it all started. That year I ran a 10 mile race and my first half-marathon. And now it seems, from the time I can sense spring is coming, my urge for running and being outside resurfaces. I have run each of those races again in the following years and am now currently training for my third half-marathon. While I no longer live in Chicago and have the amazing running paths along the lake, spring does seem to start a lot earlier down here in Georgia, giving me more time to get ready!
I have created a running plan that I myself use, based off research and combinations of other plans that I have found. A few great links are included here if you’re interested in pursing running, signing up for a race, or curious as to the benefits of this form of exercise.