I have always believed that I was not physically built to run. Believe me, I tried when I was little, and I just couldn't do it. I was a skinny little kid and always found myself out of breath at the end of the mile you had to run in P.E. (though that may have had something to do with living in the desert of Saudi Arabia...). I thought I had asthma and was even told so by a doctor! When I moved to the U.S. at age 14 and our P.E. grade depended on how fast we ran the mile, I opted to walk the mile for a grade since I knew I could not run.
Luckily, before I hit college anyway, my genes were good enough that I could eat whatever I wanted, not do any form of physical activity, and still stay pretty small. In high school when we had to do some activity every season, I did the fall play, the winter musical, and was a coxswain for rowing in the spring (coxswains sit in the back of the boat - we don't row).
In college I rarely went to the gym, and when I did I would go on the elliptical for 30 minutes. I tried the treadmill a few times, but decided it was My Worst Enemy and I would never go on it again.
Fast forward to post-graduate life - I work at a desk job where I'm sitting for 9+ hours a day, I live with a roommate who goes to the gym religiously, and I continue to eat cupcakes and cookies whenever I feel like it! I felt pretty awesome, eating whatever I wanted and not gaining (too much...) weight, but I noticed that I had some trouble areas and got winded walking up the two flights of stairs to my apartment. Like a lot of companies, my company offers a discount at the New York Sports Club. I figured, why not? My dad just told me to MAKE SURE I USE IT!!! and so I decided to try running. My roommate did it, my boss was a marathoner, and another coworker had just started running, so what can I say? I was surrounded by inspiration to give it a go.
My first run? Half a mile at 5.0 mph, which I could barely sustain. Everybody's got to start somewhere though, right? But the pain...ohhh the pain! The leg pain was terrible. Since I must be some sort of masochist (all rowers and runners must be, to some degree), I decided to keep going. Increase the distance, go with what was comfortable, but build up my lungs and just keep running.
Half a mile turned into a mile, which led to two miles, then three, and the realization that hey, I could maybe run a 5k now! So I signed up for one. I ran the George Washington Parkway Memorial 5k in Virginia in 29:24. Not too shabby for a first-timer! I was ecstatic and instantly addicted to the feeling of racing.
My next goal was a half-marathon in September in Queens. I logged onto Runner's World and used their SmartCoach tool to come up with a training schedule for me. I followed it religiously - a mistake, I have to say - putting off social events because I just HAD to do this run the next day. It was an unhealthy entrance into the racing world, but I definitely learned a LOT from that experience. I ended up running the half-marathon in 2:06:38, which I was more than pleased with!
In November I volunteered at the NYC Marathon on the course, handing out Gatorade at mile 20. THAT gave me the marathon bug. This year, I became a member of New York Road Runners and plan on doing the 9+1 program that will give me guaranteed entry into the 2011 NYC Marathon. I do plan on running a marathon in 2010 though - either the Marine Corps Marathon or the Chicago Marathon.
This blog will follow my training for the marathon, races before that, background on my previous experiences, and anything I learn along the way. I hope you enjoy the journey with me...and maybe get some inspiration to run along the way!