What made you decide you wanted to run a long distance race?
As for exercising in general? I spent most of my late teens and early 20s very unhealthy. I was a pack a day smoker, drank more beer than I should, and didn’t exercise. In 2002 I injured my knee dancing (at the bar) and had to have reconstructive knee surgery. I still didn’t change how I was living, and by the time 2004 rolled around, I was 25 years old and 40 pounds overweight. All of a sudden things started to… click. I pulled out an old $80 stairclimber and started using it 30 minutes every.single.day. I also bought some Winsor Pilates DVDs and did them as often as I could. By April I had lost 30 pounds, but I was getting bored with my workouts so I joined a local gym. I was amazed at all the people RUNNING on the treadmill. Even when I was in the best shape of my life (I was a gymnast for over 10 years), I couldn’t run more than a half mile without having to walk. I gradually started building a base, and the first time I ran a full mile without stopping I was on the phone telling people about my accomplishment. Me? Running??
I was diagnosed with MS in December, 2004 and it was “recommended” that I not do anything strenuous or overwork myself. Bah!! I felt better when I was exercising, and figured that being healthier was a lifestyle I didn’t want to give up. Soon after, I ended up pregnant with my daughter - RIGHT.AFTER.LOSING.ALL.THAT.WEIGHT. The exercise didn’t stop, and within 6 weeks after she was born, I was down to the weight pre-baby. I still had never run more than a couple miles at a time, had never done a race. All that changed a few years later.
I had been running regularly (30-45 minutes before work every morning - at 5am!!) after I quit smoking in December, 2007. I chose running mainly to prevent the weight gain that inevitably happen after all the changes your body goes through after quitting. I signed up for my first race to be the BolderBoulder 10K road race, and it was was WAY different than I expected. 99% of my training had been on a treadmill and I had not prepared properly. I wasn’t ready for the crowds of people, running without an iPod, or all the HILLS. I finished in a respectable time and from then on, I saw running in a totally different way. I now had a PURPOSE. Not just running for “fitness” – but running to compete. I just LOVE the competition of running.
Why the full marathon or half as your distance of choice?
I honestly never really had any specific distance in my head when I started racing more regularly. For me, a lot of it is just getting out there and doing it! Always aiming for PRs, but enjoying the excitement of a race was enough for me. Then after a race last winter, my sister and I started talking about running a half. We registered for the Canyonlands Half Marathon (a lottery only race in Moab, UT) and a few months later received the email that we had been picked! Almost immediately after being selected, I suffered a quad injury that prevented most running for almost 2 months! Luckily the injury healed and I traveled to Utah with both of my sisters for my first half marathon. I was excited, nervous, scared, but… determined. It was the hardest thing I’ve physically ever done, and when I crossed that line I was pretty certain I’d never walk again, lol. But by the time we were driving back to Colorado, we were already researching more races. Within a few days, I already had my goal of completing a half marathon in all 50 states. As for a marathon… I had signed up for my first marathon before ever running my half! I was initially supposed to run the full marathon in Kaua’i, but after looking at the elevation profile, I chickened out and changed to the half. I love the distance of the half, but still have the nagging challenge of a full marathon – my first is coming up on October 31, in Athens, Greece! Due to my current race schedule, I’m really not getting in my longer runs (anything over 13.1) so I’m getting pretty nervous.
Finally, why was this the year to go for it?
I ran my first half marathon in March, 2010. My first full marathon will be on October 31, 2010. Not sure if I will stop there or where my training will take me after that.