Getting Back Into Distance Running

My fitness journey really started with running. I ran track in high school and started "going for a run" my freshman year of college. I enjoyed the competition aspect of running. I liked that track was a sport where the results were entirely dependent on you. I liked the feeling in my lungs after running as hard as I could. I liked feeling fast and powerful. 

When I started doing long distance running in college, it opened up a bunch of new things to love -- the mental challenge of running 16 miles at a time, the planning aspect of training for a marathon, the toughness aspect of being able to do such a hard thing, and more!

I skipped social gatherings on the regular because I knew I had to be up at 5 to go for my 10-miler. I was extremely dedicated to training. 

But I was also kind of reckless about it. I would tell myself that because I was young (19), I didn't need to follow the rules exactly. I would run in the pouring rain. I would run on secluded country roads by myself at night. I would pile my runs (instead of running 6 on Monday, 5 on Wednesday, and 7 on Friday, I'd just run 11 on Wednesday and 7 on Friday). Again, quite reckless. 

It worked for a while, but about 2 months before my first marathon, I hurt my knee on a 9-miler. It was a wear and tear kinda thing. It felt like my femur was grinding directly on top of my tibia. Ouch!

I had no choice but to take time off. I could hardly even walk to class. I took 2 months off completely. I couldn't even use the elliptical. 

About a week before my race, I decided I was feeling better and that I should go ahead and run it. The race was expensive and I had trained so many miles. So I ran 1 6-miler that week and then just showed up for the race. Reckless. 

I finished the race. I definitely had to walk part of it. I did not get a good time. And I got a stress fracture in my foot at about mile 21. 

I took more time off -- that was January 2010. And then I trained for the Austin Half Marathon in 2013. I was much smarter about how I trained for that one, but it still left me with some knee pain. I was encouraged to start doing yoga to prevent injury. 

Then I fell in love with yoga. Then I fell in love with weight lifting. And running just kind of fell off my radar. Makes sense, right? I could do athletic things that didn't hurt me. Sounds much better. 

But recently, I have had some friends remind me why I used to really love running. My good friend Liz (pictured above) has run the Houston Full or Half every year since the year we trained for it together. She ran it again last weekend. Her dedication and commitment to running is inspiring to me. It's almost like a mandatory thing in her mind -- oh, I gotta run the Houston in January. 

And my friend Katie ran her first marathon this past fall, and is now training for an ultra marathon (cuz she's crazy into athletics). I love listening to her talk about setting PRs and pushing herself to new limits. 

These two girls love running and make me want to get back into it. 

So, I just signed up for the Brooklyn Half. It's officially happening. I'm going to be smart about it, though. I already planned out all of my runs until the race. I'm going to do all of those runs on the planned days, and not go above the distance listed. I'm also going to keep up my weight lifting and yoga practice to complement/strengthen my running.  

Anyone else signed up for a race this spring? Anyone signed up for the BK Half?