It seemed like there was some interest, so I thought I’d start to tell you how I came to the ‘tri’ portion of my blog name…
I think I’ve mentioned before, I was not a runner for most of my life. Undiagnosed exercise-induced asthma and knee/hip pain made that timed mile we had to do in junior high my least favorite thing to do.
Enter grad school. I finally asked a doctor about my breathing difficulties and got an inhaler. I joined a lab with a few active people, one of whom was a runner in hs into college. His talk of running piqued my interest, and since I wasn’t playing as much tennis, I tried it again. I still remember the day I ran 3 straight miles on the treadmill (very late in 2003)—I was ecstatic!
Slowly but surely, running got easier, and I really came to love it. A great way to escape and get outside. A great time to think about a problem, or think about nothing at all. Jess has a great list of running benefits which I think are great.
Three guys in our lab and I would go for a run by the river, or hit up the track for some speedwork (I always chased them). They provided so much motivation and support for me, I never would’ve gotten this far without them. Or this fast!! It started with a 5k, then a 10-miler, and finally a half marathon. I think I'm most impressed by my 1:16.33 Broad Street Run (10 miles). From my one half, I can give you the advice to NEVER eat something new before a race. I fought cramping the entire race, but I managed to come in just shy of 2 hours (my goal at the time).
This is all well and good, but longer distances don’t seem to be possible right now. Poor biomechanics are somewhat corrected by orthotics, but I was told that my knees were also not built to handle that much stress (although I’m not doing any damage). For me it’s a balance of running schedule, orthotics, sneakers, PT to strengthen the supporting characters for my knees, and luck. As a consequence of all this, or maybe just bad luck, I've also had a run in with an overuse injury and a random pain/ache in my left foot that hasn't gotten a real diagnosis (despite a few doctors, MRI and PT). Grrr. Now I err on the side of caution, as I'd rather take it easy then be sidelined for weeks or months.
I don’t have a HRM, most days I don’t wear a watch or an iPod, it’s just me and the road. Actually, I try and stay off pavement if I can, running on the sides of paths or on the track. They’re gentler on my joints. I usually run 2-3x a week, with a long run of 4-6 miles, some speedwork (intervals or a tempo), and one other run depending on schedule/my knees/etc. (Yes, training for the 10milers and half marathon occurred on 3 runs/week.) Now that I’m in midst of a Boston winter, I don’t get outside as much. Philly winters are much milder… Speaking of Philly, if you’re in the area, I would highly recommend the Broad Street Run. This is an amazing race, so many people come out to support, and it’s flat (although I swore there was an uphill portion the first time I ran it). There are also so many people running (close to 15k I seem to recall) that you’re never alone!
Bottom line--everyone is different; your goals, needs, and abilities will not be the same. Find what works for you. Enjoy it. Believe in yourself, you never know what you can accomplish! Writing this all down on paper reminds me of how amazing this journey has been, how much I’ve surprised myself, and how proud of myself I am. Which is welcome, as it has been a rough year. Thanks for listening (err, reading), and I hope it wasn't too boring! You may not be a runner, but I'm a huge proponent of doing what you love. Walk. Hike. Bike. Climb. Crawl? Use your imagination :) Next time I'll ramble on about how I got into (or trained for my first) tri...