Friday, March 30, 2012

New Running Blog

Crossing the finish line at the 2011 Prairie Fire Marathon.
     Hello and thank you for checking out my new blog about running. As you may or may not know, I am an avid runner. I would describe running as endurance legend, Lance Armstrong, did in an interview, saying, "I view running as a hobby and a necessity. It's a hobby in the sense that it's not a job, it's just something that you go out and do. But a necessity in the sense that I feel like I have to do something everyday, I have to stay fit, I have to be involved in some type of exercise, and running does that for me."
     I've been playing sports all of my life, mainly basketball, but running long distances used to be something I would dread. During high school conditioning the thought of running more than a mile (26.2 was not even close to registering) was exhausting just to think about. When I graduated and began college, I needed something to take the void basketball once filled. I turned to running.
     After a while I began to enjoy it more and more and I felt the positive affects it was giving me physically, and mentally. Endurance sports became something I craved.
Refueling and studying the route during the 2010 Triple Bypass.
     Two years ago I signed up for a 120 mile bike ride in Colorado over three mountain passes, the Triple Bypass. My training was done at my home in Wichita, KS, where mountains are nonexistent, and existed of more running than cycling. So, when it came time to partake in the bike ride, I had never rode my bike more than 40 miles in one ride. However, I was running more than 80 miles a week at the height of my training so I felt I had the endurance to make it through. After nine hours on the saddle, beginning the day in Evergreen, CO, I rode my way into Avon, CO completing the Triple Bypass. After that day I was full-fledged into endurance events and running was the new priority.

After the Race for the Cure 5k.   
     Last September, I entered the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure 5k in Wichita, just to run it. When I crossed the finish line, I found out I finished in eighth place and my time was around 18:50. This was much faster than I expected, and I certainly did not think I would place in the top ten. At this time, I was consistently running 50 miles a week. My weekly routine was: 10k Monday through Friday, 8 miles on Saturday, and 10 miles on Sunday. After the 5k, I was, perhaps overly, optimistic that I could finish a marathon (at this point I had been wanting to run a marathon but not sure if I could do it). The Prairie Fire Marathon was three or four weeks after the 5k, but still feeling good about the 3.1 mile race, I signed up for the 26.2 mile run. I remember my dad asking me the night before the marathon if I could do it. I told him, "I know I can finish a half marathon (13.1 miles), so I don't want to finish and think I could have done a full (26.2 miles)."

With my mom and dad after the 2011 Prairie Fire Marathon
     On the morning of the marathon, a Sunday in early October, the temperature was perfect. It had rained nonstop throughout the night, but a clear sky greeted all of the runners in downtown Wichita. As all of the runners gathered in the starting area, the buzz and emotion was like nothing I had ever experienced or felt. When the gun was fired to begin the race, my life began to change. I ran a very cautious pace throughout the marathon, not knowing what to expect (I had never ran more than 12 miles in a single run up to this point). I had the support of my family, including signs my top supporter, my mom, created the night before to further encourage me. I felt amazing through the first 13.1 miles (making me feel good about choosing the full marathon and not the half), and continued to feel good through mile 23. But then pain and exhaustion began to set in. I ripped open a bag of sport beans to help me finish, and all of a sudden I was a half a mile from the finish. Because I was running such a conservative pace, I began a dead sprint, giving everything I had, until I crossed the finish line. My official time was 3:39:02. A pace of 8:22 per mile. That was better than I had expected, hoping for a sub-four hour finish.
      After several months of a nagging injury, runner's knee, I am now recovered and back to running. Now I have a goal, like many marathoners, to qualify for the legendary Boston Marathon. I am 22-years-old, and "Boston" requires qualifying times categorized by age groups in order to run. At my age, I have to complete a Boston qualifying marathon in 3 hours and 5 minutes, or 185 minutes.
     I am trying to be smart with my training and not rushing into any races until I prepared. This blog is another way to keep myself motivated and to keep a diary of my training.
     Once again, thank you for coming to look at my new blog, and I hope you come back!

     P.S. Blog posts in the future will be WAY shorter than this one!