I have always been intrigued by runners. Many of my friends ran and I lived vicariously through them. I always thought I would like to try to run a 5k at some point in my life. I even dabbled with running from time to time. Well, it was actually more like walking, but I called it "running" because I run a few feet then walk again. I certainly never considered myself a runner like my cool friends. Then, in late April 2011, my friend Gayle asked me to do a 10k with her. I knew I couldn't run for 6 miles but I figured I could at least walk that far. So, I did! I finished that first 10k in 1 hour and 23 minutes. It wasn't a very fast time, but something happened on that day. I finished!! I started something that was very complicated and I completed it. I had something that I could be proud about!! It was an amazing feeling!! And I was forever hooked!! I ran a 5k with my friend a couple of weeks later. I was enjoying myself but I knew I needed to learn about form, breathing, pacing, etc so I went out, bought new running shoes and clothes and signed up for No Boundaries, the 5k training program at Fleet Feet Sports Tulsa. I met the most amazing people in my life and we started training for a 5k. Our goal race was the Bedlam run at the end of July. We trained 2 nights each week during the hottest summer on record ever in Oklahoma. I ran a few more 5k's during our training. We ran our goal race on July 30th. It was at 7:30 in the morning but still very hot and humid. I didn't have an outstanding finish time but again, I had the satisfaction of finishing.
I knew I wanted to keep running and keep learning so I signed up for another training program at Fleet Feet Sports Tulsa. This one was called Pathways and our goal was to run a 10k, well actually we ran a quarter marathon 6.55 miles. I met another amazing group of people and we began training. It was still hot when we started so the increased distances were challenging but we had a great coach who encouraged us to keep going. We ran our goal race on October 15 and I had an outstanding run!! But, I couldn't stop there, so I kept going. Now, my goal was the Tulsa Run, a 15k or 9.3 miles. The increased distances were even more challenging. I started having pain in my knees. My time @ the Tulsa Run wasn't quite as good as I had hoped, but I had the opportunity to run with my friends and that was awesome. I was hoping that I would be able to build up to the Route 66 half marathon 2 weeks after the Tulsa Run, but I wasn't sure. I've never been a very confident person and I was starting to doubt myself. I tried a 10 mile training run with one of the Fleet Feet Sports half marathon training groups and was able to do the distance so I went ahead and signed up for the half marathon.
The weekend of the race finally arrived. I made all the necessary preparations. I downloaded plenty of music, charged my ipod, pinned my bib on and laid out my race clothes/gear in advance. I made sure I was drinking plenty of fluids all week and had a good, high carbohydrate meal the night before. I tried to get a good night sleep but that was difficult due to all the butterflies. I woke up at 0400 to check the weather. It was colder than I was hoping it would be.....in the 30's and not likely to get much warmer so that meant a wardrobe change. I ate my usual pre-run breakfast of toast, peanut butter, honey and banana and drank more water. We left home before 6am to get to Tulsa in time to find a parking place and walk to the start line. I met my friends from Fleet Feet prior to the race. Many of them were in the same corral I was in. We made our final stop at the porta-potty then proceeded to the starting corral. We waited in the cold for what seemed like an eternity but actually was closer to 30 minutes. Then, we were off!! I ran with my friends Lynn and Kenna for about a mile then I saw my friends Jessica and Stephanie from my Pathways training group. They were running run/walk intervals. I ran with them for about 4 miles. I was feeling pretty good both physically and with my pace at this point, so I started to run my own race. I did pretty well until about mile 8 when I started to have some pain in my left foot. I kept going until about mile 10.5 and decided to walk for a couple of miles. My foot was hurting and I wanted to save what I had left in it for the finish. I walked until about mile 12.5 then I saw some more of my friends from Fleet Feet and ran to the finish with them. I finished my first half marathon in 2:43, 15 minutes faster than I had predicted!! I was pretty pleased with myself!! My biggest fear was having to run by myself. I was essentially on my own after I left my friends, but every so often, I would see someone that I knew from Fleet Feet so I never felt like I was truly alone.
I enjoyed my experience and look forward to doing the next one!! I have made some of the most amazing forever friends and I've learned something about myself. Over the course of my training, I've learned that I am strong and can do anything that I set my mind to. I learned through running to look for the silver lining and that no one is a loser. And most importantly, I've learned to have confidence in myself!! To date, I have run 14 races including: 8-5k's, 1-5k obstacle race, 1-6.55 mile run, 2-4 mile runs, a 15k and the half marathon!! I have many more miles to run and I am now proud to call myself a runner!! Running changes lives; Running changes everything!!