This is a history of my running.
It is not a history filled with finished marathons, ultras, Boston qualifiers, but rather it is one with persistence without the glory. And sometimes, I feel, in my more disappointed moments, with little pay off. I have not become faster. I have signed up for more races than I have ran. And strangely, I’ve yet to become bitter. I just keep hoping, trying, and trying again.
I ran cross country when I was in junior high. I ran a 5k and managed to get myself lost, cried, and my pulled the part off part of the bib to make it “look” like I finished. I was mid-pack runner and probably could have been better, but was, frankly, immature and uninterested in hard work.
I began running again about eight later at the age of twenty. While listening to tunes on my iPod (I did not have a smart phone yet!), I would circle laps in my college recreation center. That summer in 2011, I ran a 5k. And I ran it in under 30 minutes, so I was relatively pleased with myself and thought bigger.
It was my senior year. I ran the Oktoberfest 10k in the fall and felt like a runner. In fact, fall 2011 is around when I began describing myself as a runner. And after the 10k I thought bigger.
Moving forward, still senior year, but spring this time, I happen to take a class with a history professor who is now, seven years later, one of my dearest friends. She sent me in the school mail-box a half-marathon plan. And so, I began training. And I discovered I loved training. I was pretty haphazard about it before, just increasing willy-nilly. But training with a real plan, I began to feel even more like a runner. I ran the Toledo Half-Marathon in 2012 and began to think bigger.
This is where things start to take the turn for the worse. Hurdles begin to present themselves, notably, that I began to get injured. And not just in the same place, but different places all over. That summer, I signed up to run the Columbus Marathon. But had IT-Band problems so badly, that I do not think I made it past three miles the entire summer of 2012.
It was heartbreaking, but by the winter, I began to feel much better. I did little exercises to keep my IT-Band in check. Every time I went to the restroom I would stretch, wall squat, and air squat. For myself, I was intense. I began training for the Dayton Air Force marathon.
Training went well. It was perfect. As with the half-marathon, I fell in love with training. I loved the whole damn process, the whole routine of it. And I felt and looked strong. To this day, I do not think I’ve ever been in as good of shape as I was the summer of 2013.
My twenty mile run went beautifully. The last five miles of that baby where two minutes per mile faster than the first five. I finished that long run strong and felt energized. I was so excited and ready to see what the marathon would bring.
Two weeks later a cyst in my left ovary burst, putting in me in the most excruciating pain I think I have ever been in. I did not, unfortunately, run that marathon. That day was one of the saddest days I think I have ever had. I worked so hard. I was so strong. I was disappointed, heartbroken. I signed up for a marathon the week after, but the cyst rupture still had not healed.
It took me another three months to run again.
To be continued.