When I turned 30 some, ehem, years ago, I felt slow, lethargic, tired and unhappy. I knew once the 30s came things would start slowing down both in my metabolism and my energy levels and I wanted to stop those changes before they consumed me. So I decided to start running.
Wait, you want me to do what?
Now, let me say, I have always been a STRONG believer that I would NEVER, EVER, EVER run. Ever. Period. I would only run, as they saying goes, when being chased. And then I believed that instead of running I could just fall down in the fetal position and lay still. Like what one would do during a bear attack. But as I got older, I realized the easiest way to stay healthy would be to start running. All I needed was a pair of shoes (not even that if you’re a barefoot running advocate) and the world outside my door. I could run in rain, sleet, wind, and snow (not that I would, but I liked to know that I could if I wanted to). So, one block at a time, I began to run / walk. A few weeks later I ran my first mile since high school. Then two miles. Then nine months later of steadily running between two and three miles (because that was PLENTY in my mind), my dear friend (and running enthusiast), Marci, talked me into running a half marathon with her. A HALF, BLOODY, MARATHON?! She was (is) insane, but promised me she’d do the entire race with me and train with me and coach me along the way.
3.1 to 13.1
I went from running three miles to ten miles in a matter of two months. And as terrified as I was to run 13.1, Marci promised she’d run every step with me; 20 minutes ahead of me, of course, because she was much faster than me, but every step, none-the-less. Then it happened. About two weeks before the race we were out on our morning run, and Marci started hobbling. Then limping. Then walking. A few days and doctor’s appointments later, she found out she had hurt her IT band and developed runner's knee. Thus, I had to run 13.1 miles. ALONE. Luckily, Marci’s sister-in-law, Colleen, was along for the ride with us and flew in from Arizona to run with me. I don’t think I could have done it without her! About four miles from the end, I passed Marci and my husband cheering along the sideline and Marci ran out into the race and started running with me.
“How’s it going?” She asked me.
“Good, I think!” I replied breathlessly.
And off we went. Marci ran the rest of the race with me and we crossed the finish line together (much to the organizers dismay b/c she wasn’t wearing her bib number over her clothes - she DID pay and sign up for the race, so I didn’t think she was doing anything wrong).
Early Runner's Mistakes
Now, the root of Marci’s knee problem? Not stretching. Yep, we never, EVER stretched. EVER. And my last four miles of the race? I was dying. My feet were a disgusting mess of blisters and black toenails, and my system was drained. I had water along the way, and that was it. As we were in training, after every long Saturday run, we’d go to our local Mexican restaurant and ‘fuel’ up on refried beans and cheese, burritos, chips and salsa and margaritas. Then we’d go home and crash. To full and tired to stretch.
Wow, were we stupid. Now I know better and I'm happy to share my tips with you!
Also, as a post script, Marci has gone on to run three more half marathons, a marathon, and compete in a triathlon since our first half together! We're much better at stretching and eating properly since this first race.