Tuesday, November 16, 2010


Today, I got a medal in the mail.

I am clearly a winner!
It's from a race I didn't even train for in mid-October. Remember when my life was crazy? Yeah, I think I was running away from my life when I earned that medal.

Have I told you how I started running? I suppose 'started' is too strong of a word. In high school, I was a cheerleader. We were competitive. Throwing girls in the air and such. I ran preseason to stay in cardiovascular shape and keep my weight down. I could reliably run 3 miles, but I never tried for any longer.

I left my home state to go to college at the University of Nebraska, where I still ran, but the drastic weather difference between Nebraska and northern Minnesota caused me to stop running in the hotter months. I also had a knee injury from drastically increasing my treadmill-derived mileage (too fast + too many miles = torn up cartillage). I just couldn't handle it and I had to stop running. With the unhealthy lifestyle I had in college, the inevitable happened: I gained weight.
I came home for Christmas and my mom told me I didn't look healthy and I needed to lose weight. It was a hard message, but it was neccesary. My dad had a better idea. He offered to pay me 1 dollar ($1.00) for every mile I ran. I was a broke college student, and I thought that sounded like a really good deal.

Learning from my previous mistakes, I made sure to only run a little bit. Plus, I was super busy with school and I could only fit in a little exercise in between classes. I averaged 5 miles per week and the little bit of extra income really helped. Plus, I lost about 20 lbs that first semester. I worked hard to keep up my healthy lifestyle, but of course it became difficult when I moved off-campus and the university recreation center wasn't as close. I also decided to graduate a year earlier than originally planned (I got my B.S. in 3 years + summers), which made my schedule even busier than it had been.
When my friend Maggie told me that she was planning on running a 10k with her sister in the fall, I wanted to make sure that I could come too. I got back into running, but I had never run more than three miles, and I hadn't run more than 2 in years. Could I really do it?

My current boyfriend doubted me, but he was a giant jerk. When we broke up, he made me 'buy-out' his half of our mostly blind, skittish cat. The cat was free, but the initial vet bills were a few hundred dollars. There was no depreciation on that investiment either. Making this cat
the most expensive broken cat I have ever had. Good thing she's pretty...but I digress. Boyfriend thought I couldn't do it, so I wanted to show him. I trained and trained. I ran around my neighborhood in Nebraska. When Maggie's sister was sick and unable to run, I planned for another race. I signed up for the Run for the Roses in Ames, IA (wrong year on the image, but same race).
My boyfriend at the time wanted to come and visit some friends, so we made plans to drive the 3.5 hours to Ames, IA for the weekend of the race. I had only run 6 miles once previously, and it was hard, but I was determined to be strong and finish.

I finished that 10k in 1:02:39. The comraderie and excitement at that race sparked my love of racing that has kept me interested since.

I graduated from Nebraska and I ended up moving to Iowa for grad school. I was able to do many races in the Des Moines area, and I have kept coming back for the Run for the Roses. Some years have been awesome. Two years ago, I was able to PR and get 2nd place in the 10k at the Run for the Roses. Other years have been rough. I once ran a very hilly 10k two weeks after a bike accident. I had cut the ligaments holding my collarbone to my shoulder blade, and my shoulder was in terrible pain. I finished that race, my worst 10k ever, in 1:12 and change. My friend Claire greeted me with a banana when it was over, and I just remember being thankful that I could still run.

I have since completed several 5k and 10k races every year, and I have been including two 1/2 marathons a year for the past two years.

I have finished all but one race. That race actually taught me to respect my body and not make myself sick over something out of my control.

I like the variety and the challenge of races. The running keeps me busy, but it also clears my mind. I've found that running over 25 miles per week doesn't agree with my body, even if I supplement with yoga, so I've found a love for triathlon, which allows more crosstraining.

What is your favorite form of exercise? It could be ANYTHING - dancing, walking, stretching, swimming...


1 comment:

  1. You didn't mention walking Geoff (Family's Dog) when you were in highschool! I don't remember the number of time you complained about him pulling you into the ditch. (150 pound Alaskan Malamute)