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Off Topic Thursdays: Running

31 May

It’s time for another Off-Topic Thursday! With the last two months being swimming and biking, I bet you’re not surprised that this month is running! I bet you can guess what next month will focus on. I’ll have to get creative at some point.

I never liked running. In high school, I was a swimmer because it meant you didn’t have to run. Well, it was minimized compared to other sports at least. I felt winded when I ran and it always felt uncomfortable. After I got married and settled into a desk job, I needed something to keep me moving so I started biking and realized that with the swimming I’d done since I was a child, I was 2/3 of the way to a triathlon. The final hurdle was running and I finally had the motivation to do it.

My running started small as my triathlon dreams were small (sprint distances end in a 5K). I was running 1-3 miles 3-5 times a week and feeling good about it. Then I fell. It wasn’t a bad fall and I’m not sure it caused my knee pain but it was there when I started running again at longer distances. I went through a round of physical therapy and came out the other side no better. It was time to try something new.

I found a virtual triathlon coach. He lives about 15 miles from me but we rarely see each other and he trained me for two years all via text and an app called TrainingPeaks. With this coach, I started doing strength exercises and building up my support muscles. Then I started running. I remember the joy of my first 4-mile run. The first year, I topped out at 7 miles in a run. The second year, he coached me to a half marathon.

Husband and I after the Detroit International Half Marathon.

My goal for next year is a Half Ironman Triathlon which ends in a half marathon so we’ve signed up for another one later this summer. I like to do a race per month and that’s involved a few 5Ks so far, mostly fun ones with friends but one race where I ran my PR. I’ve got a few 10Ks and a 5-mile race lined up through the rest of the year, too.

I’ve learned to really enjoy running and racing. I’ve learned that I don’t have to be super fast to still have fun, though it is great to place in your age group. There will always be people faster than me but there are usually people slower than me, too. I have fun right in the middle. I have a lot of friends in the same boat and we enjoy doing these events together. It’s also a great bonding moment for my husband and I. We run together at least twice a week and he always pushes me. I love and hate that.

I think I’ll scale back to 5Ks and 10Ks once I do my Half Ironman. I love this community and the support I’ve felt from it since I started running. One of my goals is to do an event in every county in Michigan’s lower peninsula. Fun little 5Ks will be a great way to accomplish this. I’ve filled in a few more since then, but I’m tracking on a map in my bedroom.

Even if you’re not a runner or have no aspiration to be 5K events are a great way to get out, be active, and enjoy the weather. I sometimes think the people walking with strollers and dogs are having much more fun than me. Even on a rainy day, you can still have a good run. I’m hoping to get out tomorrow for a good one myself.

Until next time, write on.

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