My Running Story

This past weekend I was doing my normal blog reading, and came across Michael’s post about his running story. As I was sitting there reading I realized that I don’t think I have ever really shared my running story.

As I was thinking about it, I don’t think I have ever really thought about my running story because to me I don’t remember any crazy moments or big things happening. I thought however it would be fun to put it all in one place, so bear with me as I try to remember the past the past 7 years.

 

I don’t really remember an exact moment when it started. I remember being a junior in college and Wes had just started getting into running.  He used to play soccer (and was pretty awesome at it) for most of his life up until that point, but once he got to college he realized he had to choose between playing soccer in college or medical school. He didn’t have the time for both so he chose the later.

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I went through quite a few hair changes throughout this story.

Once soccer was out of his life he began slowly getting into running.  I remember him telling me one day he had been on the phone with his dad (who is also a marathon runner) and he had casually mentioned to Wes that he should try running a marathon. I didn’t think much of it and told him to go for it.

 

He started training but running still really wasn’t my thing. I actually don’t think anything was “my thing” and was pretty inactive during my college years. Thankfully I wasn’t a big partier, but I did have my fair share of late night fast food runs. I’d say instead of the freshmen 15 I was more around freshmen 10, but it wasn’t anything noticeable.

 

The first “real” run that I can remember doing was my junior year in college.  Wes had signed up for a 5k and encouraged me to do it too. I could not believe what he was asking me to do.  It seemed like an eternity to me, but I agreed.

We woke up at some crazy hour in the morning, which looking back now probably was only around 6:00-7:00 (it’s all relative when you are a college student) and drove to the 5k.  I don’t remember what I ran it in, all I remember was that it was hard. I was so happy to get back to my dorm and crash in bed after it was over.

Wes was hooked at this point of course, but I needed a bit more convincing.

 

The next time I remember running again was at his parent’s house. Wes convinced me to go on a 2 mile run with him. I figured why not and thought it’d be nice to do it together.  He tricked me into running 4 miles to prove to me that I was capable of more than I thought.  I always had an issue with self-doubt and would always tell him there was no way I could do it.

I remember that being a pretty big turning point of me. I didn’t go out and run every day after that, but I remember feeling like I could actually do more than I thought possible.

 

The next big race I signed up for was the Raleigh Rocks Half Marathon.  I was so terrified, but I slowly began the training.  My goal was simply to finish, which in my eyes was a BIG stretch.  I think he furthest I actually ran before the half was 8 miles.  I was not well training and had no idea what real training even was, but I had a goal and I was determined to finish it.

Wes signed up to run it with me but I knew he would be much quicker than me. A couple miles into the half marathon I met a woman who had lost over 100 lbs and was running this to show her children that you really can do anything you want to do.  We talked almost the entire time and she really motivated me to look at myself differently.  The race wasn’t easy but I crossed the finish line in just over 2 hours and 13 minutes. I was so proud.

The only thing I really remember was Wes coming around the corner near the end and finding me. He ran the last half mile with me and then broke away because he wanted me to finish on my own. He wanted me to feel that amazing sensation that comes over you when you finally cross the finish line.

 

After the half marathon I ran 3-4 miles usually around 3-4 times per week but didn’t do much more than that. I still had that nagging self doubt that I would never do anything more than a half marathon.

I slowly started running a bit more as the months went by but never did any run over 8 miles or so. I was content with that for the time being.

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I continued supporting Wes and followed him and cheered him on at all of his many marathons. I slowly watched him take his marathon time down from a 3:43 (his first marathon) to 2:50 (his first Boston Qualifier), and even to his most current PR of 2:32. I loved watching him and he motivated me to no end with how far he kept progressing.

 

Of course the most amazing race for me was his very first Boston Marathon in 2010.  This was about a year after my half marathon.  You’ve read the story before, but this was the race Wes proposed to me after. I don’t know if it was the emotion of the Boston Marathon, getting engaged, or just finally reaching the breaking point but I knew at that point I wanted to try to do a marathon.

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In the midst of wedding planning, his first year of medical school, and being far far away from our family I decided I would sign up for the Chicago Marathon in 2011.  I was also excited because this would be the first race I ran as a married woman.

My goal for my first marathon was simply to finish. I didn’t do any speed work and just simply ran to completion.  I used Hal Higdon’s Marathon training plan and besides the break I took for our honeymoon I didn’t miss a workout.  I was so excited, motivated, and ready to do something I once thought was impssible. 

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October 2011 came and I ran the Chicago Marathon in 4 hours and 40 minutes. Of course I made mistakes – like not eating enough the night before and going out too fast but it was the most amazing experience I had ever had.  That race also was a new PR for Wes with a 2:33. All around it was a really great race.

Chicago 2011

Lessons learned from this picture: put your arms down and close your mouth.  I was very tired at this point.

I knew right then that I wanted to do another one. Due to scheduling and some pesky injuries I didn’t sign up for another marathon until the next year when I once again decided to run Chicago. I didn’t set a time goal again because my training was a little all over the place so I didn’t want to put excess pressure on myself.

Chicago 2012

Even though I fueled better this time around, due to some stomach issues I only was able to achieve a 2 minute PR with a 4:38 marathon in 2012.  I was disappointed but that is the moment I remember being motivated to be FASTER. 

 

Throughout 2013 I went back and forth with running.  In the beginning of 2013 I took a break from running to strengthen my body and because I was burnt out. I wasn’t quite sure what to do or how to push myself to that next level. I got focused on weight training for several months and it was a great break for my body, however after 2-3 months I ached to run again. I wanted that rush again that I loved so much from running.

I remember my first run back felt amazing. I had forgotten the freedom, confidence, and pure joy that running brought me.  I think the break was just what I needed to re-motivate myself.  I remember walking into the gym about a month later discussing with my husband the dream I had to one day qualify for the Boston Marathon. He encouraged me to give it a shot, letting me know it would take a lot of work and it would be a long journey but he had the faith in me that I could do it.

I slowly began training to eventually quality for the Boston Marathon.  After losing my job, I took it too an extreme and it was my entire focus. I did improve greatly and even got a 10k PR time of 47:45 which was an 7:42 average mile and I placed 1st in my age group! This added fuel to my fire and I was so ready to do this!

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Unfortunately, my body wasn’t able to keep up and that was when I suffered my femoral stress fracture. It was a huge blow and I lost a lot of confidence, but my dream never died.

 

I think that about catches us up to today. I am slowly easing my body back into running and starting to plan my road to the Boston marathon. It may take me a year or even several years but that dream is still alive. 

Running has brought me so much more than I could have ever imagined in my life, and it will always be a part of my life as long as I live.  I have my good days, my bad days, but at the end of the day it makes me happier than I could ever have imagined!

 

When did you first start running?

Have you always loved running or did it take time?

About Sara

Welcome to my blog! My name is Sara and this blog documents my journey as a wife and a runner. I train hard and put my heart and soul into my running. My life is a crazy journey full of ups and downs, and I am here to share it all with you!

20 comments

  1. Love the story and totally love all of the great pics! Too true with the one picture looking at how tight your arms are held!

    I always love reading about people’s ‘origin stories’, because while it might seem mundane to you, for us it is a peek into who you are as a person, wife and runner.

    Thanks also for the shout-out, the amount of feedback and support I have gotten on my stories has been tremendous. My first story (also linked in the first paragraph of the one you referenced) was something I pretty much kept to myself because I was embarassed at weighing 375lbs … I was happy enough with people just thinking I had always been thin and it took me a while to truly own my story.

    Have a great day! You two are such a cute couple! :)

  2. GREAT story, i love it!! Keep up your hard work girl!

  3. I played field hockey in high school and freshman year of college, but I found that in college I actually really liked when we went on longer runs. I quick field hockey after my freshman year b/c my heart wasn’t in it and started running casually – generally no more than 2-3 miles. Then my senior year I found a book on running a marathon and I thought “I want to do that!”. So my senior year of college is when I really fell in love with running and watched my body change from it. That was over 4 years ago and I still love it. This snow is making running outside difficult but I’m antsy to get out there!

    • Awesome story! It’s funny how one little thing can trigger something great! Yes this snow is making it VERY VERY difficult! I can’t wait for it to FINALLY clear up.

  4. You’ll get to your Boston you will!! I remember the first time I ‘hit the pavement’ it was third year undergrad and boy that first block was sooooo hard (and it wasn’t even that big of a block) and it wasn’t until I got into grad school that I became more serious and did my first ever 5K and from that little race I was hooked.

  5. I hated running when I was a soccer player but weirdly fell in love with it after just one run when I gave distance running a try years later.

  6. I run with my mouth open all the time too!
    Great post – maybe I’ll blog about my running story. Thanks for the inspiration.

  7. It’s such a shame you got injured last year, you’ve clearly come on so much since your beginning days.
    My boyfriend sneakily signed me up for a 10k, giving us both six weeks to train for it about four years ago now. There was no way I was going to back out of the challenge so ran it in 59m 57s. I had a break of about six months after that before signing up to a beginner’s running group and enjoying the sessions, but this past year is when I’ve started to experience that true runner’s high from almost all of my training sessions. I’m hooked now!

    • I know but I know I will get back there! Just with time and patience!

      The runner’s high is so amazing! It is like none other. Glad you have fallen in love with running :)

  8. Wonderful story and keep chasing your dreams in running and life. I have found through running,NOTHING is impossible – I finally really and truly KNOW that. Boston holds a special place in my heart. I finished last year with a PR at age 40 of 3:23. I’ve run 3 100 mile trail races and will be doing the US skyrunning ultra series this year. I’m absolutely terrified. Thank you for motivating me :). Dream big. No thing’s impossible.

    • That is so true – running has shown me the exact same thing!

      3:23!?! That is so awesome. I would give anything to have that marathon time! Thank YOU for inspiring and motivating me!!

  9. I love reading how people got into running :) I also just nerded out pretty hard seeing your goal is qualify for Boston with a PR of 4:28. I am doing exactly the same thing and I feel like I often get the stink eye when I tell people I’m trying to cut an hour off of my time..well yeah it is hard, but that’s the point!

    • I am so glad that someone else has this goal! Everyone always gives me a bad look when I tell them the goal too. I know it’s hard and I am ready to take on the challenge no matter how long it takes me!

      Thanks Courtney! Good luck to you!! Wish we lived closer to train together – I need a training buddy!

  10. First of all, I’ve loved reading your posts! I got a stress fracture in my femoral neck about three years ago. I was only running 6 to 8 miles a day, but like you, I think the high intensity got me. My doctor at the time told me this injury was really rare for young people, so it’s been really encouraging to know someone else has experienced the same thing. After it happened, I quit running for a while. Now, I mainly just go on 4 or 5 mile walks, but occasionally I’ll run a mile or two. The most I’ve gone is 3, maybe 4 miles? I still really want to run a half marathon, but sometimes my hip still feels off even after my long walks. It makes me worry I never completely healed, or I just can’t run anymore. Did this ever happen to you after you recovered? Have you ever thought about getting a bone density test?

    • Francesca thanks so much for commenting! I still have random pains in my leg that always worry me. I guess I just try to always remind myself that once the boan heals it is ALMOST next to impossible to injur the same spot agin. You can still injury other areas, but if you are being careful and not over doing it too much then I would think you are okay. It sounds like enough time has passed at this point. I did have a bone density test and everything came back normal. Thankfully! It would be something to look into if you have never had one!

      Try searching around there are some great half marathon training plans where you could only run a max 3-4 times per week. Always talk to your doctor but if you are careful and listen to your body I think a half marathon could definietly be in your future!

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