Runner for life
I never thought that I would become a runner for life, butI’m sold! I began running my sophomore year of college. My volleyball coach had insisted on weekly 7 am mile runs, and made it clear that no matter how much work was done on the court, running the mile in 9 minute qualified you for playing time. Although I was in “volleyball shape” and by no means overweight, I struggled with this challenge to get around the track four times under 9 minutes.
I was one of the four girls who couldn’t make it in 9 minutes the first week. I was fairly upset, but kept showing up for those chilly morning runs, staying with the pack for the first lap, then falling behind, and barely getting in with seconds to spare. Although I had met the 9 minutes qualification and got some deserved floor time, I could help but feel that I hadn’t done enough.
At about that time, Don had asked me to run in a 5k with him the coming spring. I reluctantly said yes, and immediately had hellish flashbacks to those 7 am mile runs. I had no desire to run, not one meter, much less a 5k. However, as a competitive athlete, I knew I needed to train to be able to put up any respectable number. I made finishing as a “runner” my goal for the race, and this meant getting that mile way down from the uncomfortable eternity of 9 minutes.
I started small, and ran 1 mile a day for a week. Then I raised that to 1.5 miles a day for two weeks, 2.5 miles for 2 weeks, and a 5k every day for a week. Of course this wasn’t a finite schedule, but I made myself run at least 4 times a week until it was almost time for the race. A few days for speed training and I was there!! Fort Chaffee “Hard Heart Corps” 5k 2011.
The rest was history. I came back to the team as one of the most in-shape players, and surprisingly one of the fastest. My mile was down to 7:40. It is such a huge accomplishment, and it has only made me hold myself to even higher standards, which is not a bad thing in this case.
The one message I have for this post, besides a bit about how I started running, is that whatever your goal is: Stick to it! No matter how long it takes, it will pay off. Running is a skill that you will have in your toolbox your whole life. After all, haven’t you known how since you could walk?