If you’ve been following me on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram you already know I signed up to run my first half-Marathon. Something I never thought would become a goal for me. The idea of running more than a mile– which was what I ran during high school P.E. class and never again– seemed excessive. Seriously, when I began I had no endurance. At all!! The most I could do was half a mile on a treadmill which rendered me winded with tight, painful calves. Forget about it! Not my thing.
Fast forward to July 2013. I start reading the little best seller called Born to Run: A Hidden Tribe, Superathletes, and the Greatest Race the World Has Never Seen by Christopher McDougall. Yes, I know what you’re going to say… yada yada. No, I didn’t suddenly become a Tarahumara wanna be, but it most certainly piqued my interest in running. And just like that the running seed was officially planted.
Fast forward again to December 2013. I learned my good friend Cristina was running her first half-marathon. I bombarded her with questions about it and she convinced me that it was something I should do. We met up at a running store called Road Runner where I, after being tested on a state-of-the-art computerized shoe fitting system called The Shoe Dog, ended up buying the Brooks PureConnect 3. I loved them because they fit snuggly around my feet and they felt secure. Before running in them I hit the gym from some cross training to get used to them. I still loved them.
Except… my calves didn’t. It turns out that one of the reasons my calves were killing me after short runs was because I was using the front of my foot to run. Back to the running store… I needed just a tad more padding under my foot. After several visits to both Road Runner and Runner’s Den, and after failed attempts at running in three different types of shoes, I finally found the pair that seemed to be a perfect fit: ASICS Gel Nimbus 15. Lots of room in the toe box, lightweight, supportive for my neutral feet and good looking… but, the best part was that my calves weren’t killing me with pain after just a short half mile. I also stretched and iced them A TON.
What’s really important to stress here is that running is hard, BUT soooo rewarding. Getting started was challenging: from getting up extra early to calf pain to breathing to nutrition to shoes. Getting used to this new “lifestyle” was not easy. I had to learn about eating potassium and carbo-loading. I had to endure the initial pain of rolling my Iliotibial band (IT band) with a roller to relieve the stress on my knees. All of that, though, was worth the rush you get after each run. The sense of accomplishment after every new goal distance reached. The sweat running down your face and back proving your body is responding. The very visible change in your body after a few weeks of training. The ability to eat ANYTHING you want after a long run. The feeling of bliss!!! The part of the book… is true. At least for me it is.
SIDE NOTE: I wrote the first draft of this post on Sunday with the intention of posting Monday morning after my 7-mile run. I was feeling elated at about 6.7 miles for this new personal accomplishment. Except, at that exact moment I also felt the most intense pain on my right foot. It forced me to stop running and I limped all the way back to my car. I made a doc appointment for the next day (today) and figured I might as well get to work. It was painful walking on/off set with my throbbing foot, but my awesome bosses sent me home a few hours early so I could elevate the limb.