I know I already posted but I wanted to do a more upbeat one now that I ate my snickers and feel better 😉
I’m going to start by going back a year. This time last year I was struggling and in so many ways. I was registered for a half marathon. The second one I registered for but it would end up being the first one I completed. Anyone that knows me can tell you, I am not used to failing. I’m just not. I had a 4.0 in high school. I have a master’s level education and was able to obtain a dream job. I was a championship majorette in high school and I went to districts in tennis twice, one of which was about three months after having a pretty significant knee surgery. I don’t give up and I rarely fail at things I truly set my mind on.
That being said, I had to back down from my first half marathon. I had busted tail all summer alone. I picked up my time and everything. I was hitting massive hills and practically wore down the path in the trails at the park. I ran rain or shine. Then my old running partner came back to run. She had been out for a few months due to her back problems. She’s an amazing athlete that continually downplays her awesomeness and I have to admit that I sometimes felt a little inferior. She was a beast and just an overall natural runner. I was lucky to have her help me get started but I was trying to keep up with her and my so-called good knee went out on me (i.e dislocated) less than two miles in. It was my worst fall to date and I have dealt with these falls since I was single digit ages. I just have naturally awful knees. I still have flashbacks of that fall and might be part of why I am not quite as fast as many people I know that run. it put me out of commission for a while. We did the 5k instead of the half for that race and I was distraught. It felt like a failure.
Fast forward to January 2015. I had new shoes and a new half I was training for. I had some minor falls and the previous November I sprained my ankle. I had no running partner because she stood me up pretty much every day. She just really wasn’t a morning person. I was terrified I would not be able to finish that one either. The pace requirement wasn’t super fast or anything. You could literally walk the whole thing and finish but I was still terrified. I’m going to speed this up because the post is longer than I thought it would be… needless to say, I finished! and I made a new friend along the way.
She was wicked cool and stayed with me the whole time, even when I had to sit on the concrete and stretch my crazy hip out. Also, the medals were way cooler than the one pictured. Those were temporary ones because the real ones were tied up in a shipping crisis. Anyway, I had massive hip pain and was super slow but I still finished my first half.
The struggle I had was with pain and feeling like I was alone all the time. The day after this half, I started a program I accidentally signed up for. It was called Women Can Run and, yes, I said I ACCIDENTALLY signed up for it. I don’t do new crowds well. I’m an omnivert with a slight tendency toward introvert so hubby pretty much forced me to go through with it for the next few weeks.
The program was amazing! It was free and for women of all ages. Walkers and runners were all welcome and I was somehow in the advanced group. I was terrified. I went on the first group run and was terribly slow. My leader, Lauren, was wonderful and hung back with me since everyone else had those amazing fast twitch muscles God left out on me. I told her about the awful hip pain I had experienced and about the knee problems. She suggested a metronome and told me to take small steps as if my shoelaces were tied together. I swear she was magic because that hip pain disappeared after that short run with her.
The program was 10 weeks and ended with a graduation 5k. In the advanced group we learned about speed drills and all kinds of stuff I had only read about in blogs and books. I some how went from running 13 minute miles to having my best magic mile be 10:45. My easy pace went up to 12:30-11:30 per mile. The best part was, they encouraged you to get to know the other women and make friends. This was how #teamslug began. I made two of my best running friends in that group. I did my second half marathon with them and cut 20 minutes off my time! That accidental registration changed my entire life and I am so glad hubby kind of forced my hand for those first few weeks.
The program is state wide and it was the best thing that happened to me. i would not be preparing for Princess Weekend if I had not gone to this clinic. I think I would have given up. Okay so maybe not but I would have hip pain, bad gait, and like no running friends which is just as bad.
The program is about to start back up and I have been talked into being a leader. I’m nervous because I feel like I still have so much more to learn. I’m also extremely excited and flattered that they felt I would be “an inspiration” to others. I have no idea how I will be an inspiration but I am hoping to be placed with the beginner runners. I love seeing people find joy in running and I can’t wait to give back to the program that gave me so much!