Monday, February 16, 2009

Runnin Runnin

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...

28 comments:

VeggieGirl said...

Thank you so much for sharing more about you!! And I agree - it's best to do what's right for YOU.

Joanne said...

This was a great post and reminds me a lot of myself. I was someone who never thought I could run and resisted getting on a treadmill for the longest time! My roommate eventually convinced me to get on and I was enamored. I love running around the Charles River loops...when it gets warmer we should try to meet up sometime and do one!

Erica said...

Great post! I am so glad that you discovered what was holding you back and moved through it! You rock :)

Rachel said...

HERE HERE. I have issues with knees too. Due to overuse/downhill running from last years Half. It's better to be safe than sorry.

Glad you are a runner/tri geek. Love reading about others who run and have running issues. Strength training for my medial and lateral quads has been imperative for knee stability.

Anna said...

AMEN! I like your outlook on things.

Elina said...

Oh wow, I'm super impressed with your running history. I hope one day to do a half marathon as well (I think that's as long of a run as I'd want). I thought your "tri" to cook was just a spelling thing. Looking forward to hearing (or reading) about your training for a tri! :)

Dawn said...

those guys providing you the motivation is so key. I am always on the lookout for new ways of motivation. It's like they always say "if you hang around people who do what you do or what you want to become then you will become it"
Good for you!!
Are you running on the Charles? Lots of motivation there!!

dailygoods said...

this was a wonderful post!!! i am trying to push myself with getting better in running and in 2 months am running my first 10k! thanks for the amazing inspiration :)

just me said...

thanks for sharing that part of your life with us! you have come far and have realized what you can and can't do without hurting yourself; that's great!

Balance, Joy and Delicias! said...

so interesting story, thanks a lot for sharing with us, it's so inspiring! :D

Alisa - Frugal Foodie said...

Wow, those are some excellent accomplishments .. and running a half marathon in under a 10-minute mile is impressive in my book!

talesofexpansion said...

thanks for all the background info! it's always so helpful to hear how other people approach running/exercise, what works/what doesn't, etc.

Maria said...

Great job on the running! You are awesome!

Heather McD (Heather Eats Almond Butter) said...

Thanks for sharing...this was my favorite part:

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

Great advice! Well said my friend.

Erin of Care to Eat said...

That's amazing! I'm so glad you shared this! You're so tenacious! Very inspiring. Aren't knees the most archaic joint?!

Sagan said...

This was so much fun to learn all about your story! I'm super happy you shared it with us. Good for you for sticking with it and my philosophy is always about doing what works for you.

Annie said...

I'm very impressed. I also believe you can do anything when you put your mind to it.
I had a similar experience with running in high school. Breathing made it really difficult. But like you, I started running a few years ago, slowly, and began to love it.
Unfortunately, I started having problems with my feet and knees, so I gave it up and started cycling instead.
In the winter I ride my stationary recumbant bike. Not as fun, but easier to deal with than cold, rain and snow!

Lauren said...

Hi Shannon - last night was a blast, and I enjoyed chatting with you! I look forward to the next meet-up... in the meantime, we should hang out in Kenmore sometime :)

Kelly said...

I was great meeting you last night. Hopefully we'll all do this again so we can mingle more.

Every Gym's Nightmare said...

I always wondered that too! thanks for sharing!

and thanks for the shout out!

Kelly Turner
www.everygymsnightmare.com

Jess said...

Yay! I've always been curious about your "running life." That's a really good 10 mile time!

Juliet said...

Great story. I love learning about other bloggers. I actually have a similar story about running so I thought it was super interesting!

innascribbles said...

Wow, thanks for posting this! I have never been a runner but I want to run more, and it's always great to hear about people who were in my shoes and are now runners :)

loveofoats.com said...

i love this post - it really inspires me to continue my "attempt" to run hehe :)

ahhh the broad street run, my hubby's little bro runs it every year :)

HeatherBakes said...

Great post! I think a lot of people write themselves off as "non-runners" when they have the potential to be great at it.

I'm so impressed that you run without an iPod! If I'm running by myself I HAVE to have that music going at all times.

Foodie (Fab and Delicious Food) said...

Great post!

MizFit said...

I love the behind the scenes of the blogger!
youre up at mizfit next week---I may just link this along wit yer bio sentences!!

Rosiecat said...

You've come so far with your running, Shannon! Your story is really great, from "I hate the timed mile!" to "I've run a half-marathon...AND I STILL RUN!" This winter has been so hard for me in many ways, but I'm hoping to get back into my running as the weather becomes more hospitable.

By the way, congratulations on your Wellsphere award! I know you've had it posted on your blog for a while now, but I kept forgetting to send you some congrats. That's what happens when writing becomes rambling ;-)

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