Thursday, April 6, 2017

Meet the Runner that I am today. :)

My very first finish line photo (Jingle Bell Run 5K, December 1, 2007) I've learned to smile while I run. ;)

**I spent this morning answering a few questions for a 'big time" shoe company to be featured on their blog!! I am absolutely humbled and honored by these kinds of opportunities....Looking back on my first 5k, I absolutely looked like I was dying as I crossed the finish line! I was wearing a LONG SLEEVED COTTON TSHIRT AND COTTON PANTS. omg. Do you hear me?!! I would never wear that now!!

I've learned so much since I first started running. Some things remain totally the same though. I've kept every race bib....with the original safety pins. One of my quirks. I am very sentimental and like to keep my running mementos.  I want to be able to look back at my running and races. I also thought that I was "big-time" because my first bib had "Runner's World" on it. I thought I was totally a legit runner at that point. I also remember getting to the race that morning and not knowing how to attach my bib. I smile now everytime I think of that. Not even knowing how to put on my bib is probably one of the reasons why I still get choked up and sappy about being able to work with Runner's World Magazine in the past.... I cannot explain how truly thankful that I am to the running community for being so good to me. I've come a long way and I'm thankful that almost ten years later and I'm still learning about all of the things that have molded me into being the type of runner that I am.

I love looking back and reflecting on my first running experiences. And I will call them experiences and not races. I've never been that fast and I tend to approach each race as an experience. I prefer it that way....Over the years, I have expanded my running horizons to include fitness, travel, vacation, friendships, change of diet and nutrition, blogging, social media, workout clothes and shoes and it's what I do now for a living.

So here's just a tiny little bit about me and my running that I answered today... :)

About my racing/running....I have been running races since 2007. I decided to run my first 5k when I turned 35 years old. My youngest child was entering Kindergarten and I was a stay-at-home Mom who needed a hobby and also needed to get back into shape. I've always been active but never thought that I could actually run a 5k. So I started training. My first race was on my 35th birthday and I did OKAY. I finished and I was proud of myself but I wasn't proud that I had to stop and walk and ran slower than what I wanted to. I made it my goal to be able to run a full 5k without stopping. Four months later, I achieved that goal. I quickly signed up for my first Half Marathon. 

Since my first half marathon, I have completed 48 Half Marathons, 12 Full Marathons and waaaaayyyy too many 5 and 10ks to count!

At one time, I was obsessed with my finish times, my pace, my PR's. Now, I don't worry about those things so much anymore. I have decided that I really enjoy the sport of running. I enjoy soaking up the views along the course during races. I enjoy the social aspect of running. My race times can still be fast sometimes now but I enter every race less stressed and am super proud of myself at the end of every race no matter the distance. 

I have ran in 8 states (mostly the southeast), I like to support my local races as much as possible. 

My favorite distance to run is 13.1 Miles (Half Marathon). I feel like I can push myself just enough, I am able to always stay "half-trained" by getting a long run in on the weekends and I like to earn medals!

My pre-race rituals are very simple. I drink one cup of coffee, eat a banana (maybe a granola bar or protein bar if I'm running longer than a 10k), arrive to the race early and I make sure that I've grabbed my lip gloss! Gotta look cute for the race photos! I feel like if I go into a race relaxed, then I will have a great run! 

Another thing that I've learned over the years about myself and running is that I just don't compare myself to other runners. Sure, there will always be faster runners than me. Sure, there will always other runners who show up earlier than me and add in extra miles. However, there is only one "me". I know that I will run back to back races and I may not always be running on rested legs...I'm a busy Mom and I rarely sit down.  I do the best that I can do and that's ALWAYS enough for me. 

At the start line, I do take time to stretch but not too much. I like to stretch and foam roll my muscles after I've ran. I often put my headphones in, find my music and take a minute for myself and just be thankful that I'm about to go do what I love to do the most....just run! 

I hope to never lose sight of why I started running. It's not about being fast or running a zillion races. I encourage others to find something that makes them happy and for me it's running. I had no idea when I started out on my running journey years ago that I would really accomplish goals or restore a confidence level in myself that I was desperately looking for. Running brings out the best side of me and for that, I'm ridiculously thankful! I am proud to call myself a "Runner". :)
My very first 5k time....I thought it was cool since it fell on my 35th Birthday.
I had no idea then if it was a good time or not....

My first 5k bib. I love this for so many reasons.
So much so that I've attached it to pretty glittery scrapbook paper. ;)
A trip down my running memory lane was just what I needed today! Sometimes its' good to go back and remember the reasons why I started running and why I will always love to run.

Happy Running and Now I need to plan a 10th Running Anniversary Experience!!! <3

A 2017 current race photo...I've learned to smile, not worry and enjoy my races.
2017 Disney's Princess Half Marathon

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