I will never run a marathon, but I’ll train for a 5k – me, 10 years ago.
I wasn’t always a runner. Actually, I’ve only been a runner for almost 1/3 of my life. When I was a kid, I was in swimming and competitive dance. I ended up with a lot of injuries as a dancer – Patella femoral syndrome, pulled hamstrings and more. When I was 10, I remember jamming my knees so badly in tap class that I had to scoot out of the rehearsal room on my bum because I couldn’t stand up on my own.
I did a LOT of physio, like, 2 years a lot. I remember hearing the words “knee replacement” being mumbled. I had a doctors note excusing me from phys ed and stating that I wasn’t to engage in running activities. Every attempt I made at running ended badly, with something else on my body hurting. I remember in the 7th or 8th grade, it was track and field day and it was a requirement that we had to sign up for 3 running events. I chose the 60m, 100m and 200m because they were the shortest. Then we were told you had to pick at least one longer distance race, and that 3 short distances weren’t acceptable. So I signed up for the 800m, which was the shortest of the “long” distances.
I ran for maybe the first 50m and then walked very slowly the rest of the race. I think I may have even cried. Either way, running – it wasn’t my thing. When I turned 19, all of that changed.
I don’t know why, but running didn’t hurt when I gave it a shot. I could barely run 300m continuously, but I was determined to run. I began my journey in April 2006 and my goal was a 5km race on July 1st of that year. I trained and ran the 5k. I stopped during the race to “tie my shoe” – aka, find an excuse to take a break, my shoelace wasn’t undone. I was upset with myself for not running the whole thing. That feeling stuck with me and I wanted to do better. I noticed a lot of benefits from running and it started becoming part of my regular routine. The following spring, I signed up for and ran my first half marathon. That unsatisfied feeling creeped up on me again after that race, because I wanted to do better. I wanted to run faster. From there, I guess that’s when I felt like I became a runner.
Here I am, 10 years later, slated to run my first marathon on May 29th. I said I’d never run one. But I also used to say I’d never be able to run. I’ve learned to “never say never”.
Do you have any tips to share for a first time marathoner? How did you get into running?