Wednesday, October 10

Addicted to running

It's now a tradition: on New Year's Eve my boyfriend and I sit down to reflect on the year we're leaving behind and the year we're taking head-on. We each write a list of accomplishments or just general "awesome things" about the year past and, usually after some reminiscing, we turn toward the coming year and write resolutions or goals.

On December 31, 2011, my New Year's resolutions included "Run a 5K." I had started running in November and was beginning to enjoy it (after a few weeks of soreness from using muscles I had long forgotten about), so I thought I would challenge myself.

In January 2012, I joined a gym. The Anytime Fitness near me was a great choice, especially as my work situation changed drastically in March. My new job left me coming and going at odd hours, so the 24-hour possibility of a workout was a relief. Then my company gave me a membership to LA Fitness down the street from the office. 

I couldn't have known what this would turn out to be. I couldn't have predicted that I would become addicted to running. 

I registered for my first 5K in February with a friend. She knew about my goal and was getting back into running too, so we vowed to go together. The race was in April, so we had time to get ready. With zeal and energy, I ran and ran. An outsider not privy to my 5K goal might have thought I was preparing for a marathon. In my mind, this was such an important goal. 

By the time the April 21st race rolled around, I was already registered for my next race--the Pittsburgh Marathon 5K--and knew that running was something I wanted to keep in my life.

I ran my first 5K for a fallen Pennsylvania State Trooper, Trooper Iwaniac, in Latrobe, PA. My time? 32:04. I was beyond thrilled. An average of just over 10 minutes per mile delighted me... and ignited me. I started signing up for more races and by the time I ran the Pittsburgh Marathon 5K on May 5th, I had races planned for June and July.

I've raised money for charity for a few races. I chose only those dearest to my heart--the Animal Rescue League of Pittsburgh in honor of my own rescue mutt (May 5th) and the Epilepsy Foundation of Western Pennsylvania in honor of my sister who has dealt with epilepsy her whole life (July 21st). Those races were meaningful in a different way. Sure, I was meeting my goal of running the race, but I meditated on the reason for the race and that provided a little something extra that I struggle to describe. It's a holistic, peaceful vibe that the world can be good if good people make it so. That's the best I can do with words, without making you come with me to feel it for yourself.

At this point, I've run a race every month since April: April, May, June, July, August, and September. I ran my first 10K in September, which was another milestone I couldn't have predicted. I've also now scheduled more races for October, November, and December that, combined, total more than I ran in the prior six months! Running everything from a 5K to a 5 miler and an 8K to a 10K, the remainder of the year looks bright and fast.

And, for what it's worth, my finishing times are decent. For a novice, for someone who has only trained by running (not lifting or cross training much, if at all), for someone who just put on some shoes and strode for the road, my times are decent. I might not be winning races (yet??), but I am winning in my heart by meeting my goals. I battled my asthma for much of the summer, what with northeastern humidity and heat as it is, and my times were slower, but I am pleased nonetheless because I persevered. 

When December 31, 2012 rolls around (sooner than we realize), I will set my goals and make resolutions once more. This coming year I am registered for the Pittsburgh Half Marathon--the big 13.1 miles--so I will train for that through May 5th. The goal setting is what revs my engine. The achievement is what pushes me onward, covered in sweat, exhausted, and hungry, to run to the next goal. Yes, friends, it is safe to say I am addicted to running.

April  21- Trooper Iwaniac 5k, Latrobe, PA; 32:04 (with Jenny)
May 5 - Pittsburgh Marathon 5k, Pittsburgh, PA; 31:03 (with Jenny)
June 30 - Fearless 5k, Allison Park, PA; 35:17 (solo)
July 21 - Epilepsy Foundation 5k, Pittsburgh, PA; 31:50 (with Caleb, for Katrina)
August 25 - Run Around the Square, Pittsburgh, PA; 34:50 (solo; a respectable time for the asthma problems I had.)
September 30 - The Great Race 10k, Pittsburgh, PA; 1:08:57 (solo; a new PR for my first 10K!)

October 20 - Ohio Outside Trail Series #1 Five Miler, Kent, OH;; with Eleanor
October 27- Terrifying 10K Costume Run, Allison Park, PA;; solo
November 3 - New York Road Runners Dash to the Finish 5k, New York City;; with Amanda
November 11 - Marshall Mangler 8K, Allison Park, PA;; solo
November 17 - Ohio Outside Trail Series #2 Five Miler, Kent, OH;; with Eleanor
December 1 - Ohio Outside Trail Series #3 Five Miler, Kent, OH;; with Eleanor
December 15 - Doomsday Dash 5K, Columbus, OH;; with Eleanor

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