I started taking running seriously the summer of 2014. I had moved from Massachusetts to Baltimore to take on a new job and a new life, without a friend or a foe in sight.
“I know! In order to make friends, I’m going to join the running team at work. I signed up for my first half marathon in Baltimore excited, if not for friends, then for a healthy hobby where I could truly be myself.
My first half marathon was exhilarating, to say the least. One thing about new runner nerves is that, at least for me, in worked in my favor because I was more than prepared. I will never forget “Sweet Disposition” playing in my ears as I started this beautiful race and I finished with a smile.
^ Me and my friend at the Baltimore Running Festival 2014
I was hooked. That year, I ran through the winter to 2015, even running a 10 K in the dead of winter on ice and hills (I was freezing and boy did I run fast). I signed up for a race in Gloucester, Twin Lights Half Marathon, for that May. That race, I learned the importance of hill training. Afterwards, I was so beat but so excited to be done. Not only did my headphones break right at the beginning of my run, but I got to run it with a friend. The run made me stronger and made me realize I could push through almost anything.
It was marathon time. Having already signed up for the Charles Street 12 Miler in Baltimore, in addition to my second Baltimore Running Festival Half marathon, I enlisted my friend Becca* to help me with my first marathon- Philadelphia. After signing up, I remember thinking: I must be crazy!
Marathon training was tough, but definitely not impossible. With Becca’s guidance, I avoided injury and ran a solid race. I had tears of joy running down my face when I finished. “I’m never doing that again”, I thought. Yeah that was a lie. My mom was there and I was so excited (though have a very difficult time expressing any type of emotion other than anger towards my mother). I think I made her proud. ” I didn’t think you were going to finish, but there you were running so strong at the end of the race”. Damn straight.
Following the Philadelphia Marathon, my running was definitely not on the front burner. Again, I ran through the winter and signed up for the Virginia Beach Half Marathon in the Spring. Naturally, the race occurred in a hurricane but I made it through to the end!
^ Following the Hurricane at the Finish line- I was SO COLD
I took another brief hiatus and, that fall, signed up for the New Hampshire Half Marathon (attempting to get more states in) and the Marine Corps Marathon (yes, I did get into the lottery!). Driving up to New Hampshire with my mom, I remember thinking, “Oh jesus. Look at all those hills”. And yet I PRed my half time, 2:01. It was drizzling that day, and I remember feeling miserable and without energy. But then I saw my mom and my uncle on the top of the hill at the last leg of the race, and boy I flew.
Following the New Hampshire Half, I was spent. I think I gave that race all I could, not knowing it. The day of the Marine Corps marathon, it was HOT, 70 to start and still humid in DC. I went out strong and full of joy. At mile 11 they had a memorial for all of those killed in the military- it was quite touching but I remember getting out and realizing it was mile 12 and my entire body was shutting down. Already. I was hitting the wall early.
Moral of the story: ALWAYS START SLOW IN MARATHONS.
The rest of my race was a miserable walk/limp/run. No amount of fuel on the run could subdue my pain from low quality strength training and not taking my runs seriously.
Following the marine corps, I took a long break until recently, when I finally signed up for the Essex Half Marathon. I anticipate a hilly run, as it is in Vermont, so I plan on focusing on feel rather than speed. And then, finally, coming full circle to a *hopefully * Full Marathon in the Baltimore Running Festival.
I invite you to join me in my journey of training, happiness, pain and sorrow! Run to burn off that crazy! Welcome!