run, rest, eat, bitch, buy things, cross-train, blog, repeat.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Evenings on the pavement.

I started running about 2 years ago. I kind of feel like my life can be categorized in two ways: Life before running and life after running. I know that sounds a little dramatic, but it's completely true. Before I started running, I was out of shape, had terrible nutritional habits, didn't get anywhere near 7-8 hours of sleep, I had very low self esteem, issues with depression, and I generally just didn't think about my body that much. I was a mess. And I honestly didn't even realize it. And now, all of those things are swapped. I'm in great shape, eat a lot healthier, get my 7-8 hours sleep (mostly), I feel great about myself, keep a positive attitude and I have so much energy now.

It really is amazing. I am a completely different person today than I was 2 years ago. And I've never been happier.

When I first started running, it was a slow process. I don't even think I could run further than a quarter of a mile, but it was amazing how quickly I progressed. About 6 weeks after starting, I ran my first 5k. It was incredible. I did it all by myself and completely for me. I ran the whole thing and though I was pretty dang slow, I didn't have to stop once. I crossed the finish line and walked back to my car with a much lighter step. My mom would have been there for my first race, but she was out of town and I didn't really feel comfortable asking a friend to wait in the cold for me at the finish line, so I did it all by myself. Which was very fitting, because it was something that I was doing solely for me anyway and it felt great.

I started by running after work. I'd take a bag of clothes and change into them after work and run around the streets where I work. I'd do my long runs on the weekends at Moss Wright Park. This was the way that I ran for a long time. Until this past summer. Once I started training for my 2nd marathon, it was the end of July and it was hotter than hell outside. I started getting up in the mornings to run, because it was cooler. It sucked at first, getting up at 5:00am, but I loved having my afternoons and evenings free. It was like I finally figured out.... oh yeah, I can have a life as a runner! So, I've stuck with it.

There have been a couple of times recently that I've had to run in the afternoons and they have been terrible runs. I've either just been too tired from long days at work, or the car exhaust fumes would make me nauseous. So, when I woke up yesterday morning to the sound of rain hitting my metal balcony, I was pissed. I didn't want to run after work. Uggh.

Turns out, it was an awesome run. It was a little misty outside still and while I contemplated blowing the run off to curl up on the couch and finish Atonement, I knew that I'd feel incredibly guilty about skipping the run, because, I honestly didn't have a good excuse. So, I got out there. I ran my 6 miles and it barely felt like I'd ran for 20 minutes. I couldn't help but be reminded of how far I have come. This exact time 2 years ago, I was attempting my first 2 miles solid of running and now here I was... 2 marathons, 3 half marathons, and lots of other races under my belt and running on the same cold, dark streets I started on. It felt great. While I was running, I even started thinking... hmmm.. maybe I can start running a couple of my shorter runs during the week at night and sleep later those mornings. But, I doubt that will happen, it's nice to get it out of the way.

So, this morning, I had to get up for a 3 miler. I have to admit, coming up that last hill today, my legs felt like I had cinder blocks attached to them. Not a good sign since tomorrow is hill workout day. But, I'll make it through. I always do.

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