My Journey to Becoming a Runner (and now triathlete!)

13 08 2010

Running is a sport that a large percentage of the population wishes they could do….and be good at.  I was no exception and always admired the sleek, fit runners I would see out on the trail.  I got my first shot at becoming a runner in 7th grade when I went out for the track team.  I only wanted to be a short distance sprinter but of course the coaches put you through 2 weeks of long distance conditioning before you can even try out for a specific event.  I said the hell with this long distance crap and quit within the first week.

I didn’t try running again until college and maybe got to around the 1-2 mile mark before I gave up once again.  I would try it every spring, grind my teeth through the pain and tell myself how much I hated running.  Don’t ask me why or how, but approximately one year ago, I talked myself into giving it another go and put in at least 2 runs a week for 6 weeks.  I would start out running a mile, walk for a bit, and then run for another mile.  By about week six I was up to 3 miles and discovered how much I enjoyed running 5k races.

This spring I kicked her up a notch and took a 10k training class.  It was another 6 week commitment and by Memorial Day I completed my first 10k race in under an hour.

Eyeing the finish line

My little cheerleaders

I’m extremely happy to say that one year later I am still running and absolutely love it.  I’m at the point now that my body craves it….if I don’t hit the trail at least 2-3 times a week, I get grumpy.  I stick in the ear phones, blast the music and sometimes feel like running forever without looking back.  It puts me in a zone of a simpler time, just me and the trail…no computers, no emails to return, no mortgages to think about.  My next “big” race (for me anyway) is the Mankato Marathon in October.  Although several friends have almost talked me into training for the 1/2 marathon, I just don’t feel ready yet.  Right now I’m signed up for the 10k but may be doing a 4 person relay team for the full marathon….we’ll see.

Of course completing a 10k this spring just wasn’t enough for me, so I began tossing around the idea of training for a triathlon.  I joined the Mankato Multisport Club and this group has been a phenomenal resource and support group for a newbie like me.  I talked the husband into letting me get a new road bike this spring (Women’s Specialized Dolce) and my family got me a Fat Tire (my favorite beer) bike jersey for mother’s day!

I WILL get New Belgium to sponsor me one of these days

My first triathlon was the North Mankato Tri at the end of June.  The course was a 1/4 mile swim across Hiniker Pond, a 12 mile bike ride out on Judson Bottom Road, and a 3.6 mile run around Spring Lake Park.  I finished in about 1:35 which I was really happy with as a first timer.  It no doubt was the most physical outing I’ve done, but the adrenaline rush of the race got me hooked on continuing on.

Women's 30 and over swim heat

Riding back to staging area to run transition

I think I had the best bike jersey at the race

Home stretch!

Think this was my "I just ate a bunch of orange slices" face

And of course I had to celebrate with a Fat Tire when I got home!

Looking forward to my next Tri, which is this Sunday in Red Wing.  Set-up will be different since the swimming is held in an outdoor pool and will be slightly longer than my last (1/3 mile vs. 1/4 mile).  The biking is roughly the same (12.7 miles) and the run slightly shorter (3 miles).  I’m looking to improve my individual event time and now that I’ve been through transitions before hopefully I can cut down on those too.  Don’t worry…I’ll remember to have fun…I always do!

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