The beginning of the year is always a time to reflect back on what was memorable in the previous year. For me, 2014 was the year that I became a runner.
I can't believe it's been an entire year since I wrote about starting a running program. It may have seemed like a filler post, but I actually went through with it, and running has become one of my favourite things to do. Though I won't admit that at 4:30 in the morning when I'm dragging myself out of bed and fumbling into my clothes.
I wanted to give you an update because I'm so proud of what I've accomplished so far. A couple of years ago I completed the Couch to 5K program and felt pretty good about that. But I never stuck with it - I usually ended up running only once, maybe twice, a week. There was always a reason not to - I had just eaten, I needed to work on something else, my back hurt. And on and on. So in March I gave myself a stern talking-to and moved on to the Bridge to 10K program. Wow! I'd only ever run 10km twice in my life. But by the end of the program I was doing it 3 times a week!
Then we went to Texas on vacation. I only ran once in those 10 days - but I did buy myself a new pair of sporty Nikes for encouragement. I caught a cold on the last day of vacation and the hacking cough stayed with me for 2 weeks, so April ended up a complete write-off.
But I wasn't going to give up, and in May I started getting up early in the morning to run on the treadmill. Six days a week. Now I wasn't doing 10km every day, it was more like 5 with a longer run on Saturdays. I stuck with the treadmill because I was still too shy to let people see me out on the street huffing and puffing. I ran 143km that month - and that was enough encouragement to get me outside.
I'll tell you - running outside is so much easier. And fun. You feel like you're really getting somewhere (even if you do end up back where you started). There are some beautiful neighbourhoods around me so I entertained myself by looking at all of the houses, imagining that I lived in them. I discovered little streets and pathways I never knew about. And made friends with people out walking their dogs or heading to work as the sun came up.
Over the summer I clocked another 645km. Seriously. Me. The girl who avoided gym class like the plague. On Labour Day Sunday I even ran 21km. My longest run ever. I've never entered a race because I always thought I'd be last, but now I know I could even enter a half-marathon and run the whole thing.
During the fall I cut down on my distance a lot - I hate being cold, so I was back on the treadmill. At that point my hip and knee started to hurt after each run. It turns out that running six times a week in worn out shoes was wreaking havoc on my body. Don't be like me - get new shoes every 700km or so!
But I've been seeing a PT and a chiropractor - I've increased my strength training and stretching - and I'm ready to keep going. I also bought not one, but two new pairs of running shoes.
I have a friend at work who's a triathlete, and he has challenged me to sign up for a spring race - my choice - and he'll run it with me. That's motivating me to keep with it and keep improving.