Tuesday, May 25, 2010

The Club

Although I began running to lose weight, it quickly became more.  I crave running.  If a week goes by that I'm not able to get in at least 15 miles, I get restless and cranky, and no one really wants to be around me.  Running relieves my stress, but it's become more than just a stress release, it's become a way for me to help others.

When I first started out, my brother-in-law spent a lot of time running with me and helping me to become a better runner.   He is an unbelievable athlete (who, by the way, will be running his first full Ironman in July,) but he never seemed to care that I was slow and couldn't run the same distances as him.  He was just happy that I was getting out and trying hard.  He pushed me just hard enough for me to improve, but never so hard that I didn't hunger for the next run.  His never ending motivation and patience with me has been extremely inspirational.

Back in January, as I was training for my first half marathon, I was running with a couple of other gals in the neighborhood.  It was at this time that I realized that I really enjoyed helping these girls improve through the knowledge I have picked up along the way.  It is such an amazing feeling to watch someone progress partly because of your support.  So I decided to start a running club - Middle Distance Runners!  Middle Distance because while we are not the fastest, we are definitely not the slowest and we give it everything we have!

Since January the group has grown to 11 runners, and we continue to grow.  Every Tuesday and Thursday at 7 PM we meet and run for 3 to 5 miles.  For new runners to the group we run a shorter distance until they are ready to run longer distances.  It is so inspiring to watch these gals improve with each run, and to see them enjoying it so much!  The best part is that it has become such a great social outlet.  We get together and talk about everything and nothing.  We laugh and joke and generally forget about the days stresses for the hour to hour and a half that we run together.  And as new people join we make new friends. (By the way, I would love for the group to have more men...we are not just a running group for gals!)

Ultimately, running fulfills many things in my life...it relieves my stress, provides me with an awesome social outlet, keeps me fit and healthy, last, but certainly not least, it allows me to help other people progress in the same way that my brother-in-law helped me.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Kids Running Club

After my half marathon in February, my kids started asking to run with me all of the time.  I started taking them around the block once or twice a couple of days a week.   When the Corona Panthers Track Club announced their upcoming 5K and 1K fun run my sister and I decided to sign up the oldest of our kids.  So, on May 8th, 2010 my 6 year old son, 7 year old niece, brother-in-law, and I ran the Dos Lagos 1K.  The kids did great and had a great time. It was this race that got my son thinking.

For the next several days he wrote up notes on starting a track club.  He listed who he wanted to be a part of it, the day they would run together, that water and Propel would be given out, etc.  He spent quality time on these details.   Then my good friend made a comment on Facebook about the monsters we have created with all of our running.  This started the ball rolling.  Finally, we all agreed we should get the kids together to run.  My sister suggested the park every Wednesday and everyone agreed.

Last Wednesday we had 12 kids running lap after lap around the park in our community.  The kids ranged in age from 7 to 2, and each of them was so excited to be running.  It was at that point in time that I realized that I am not only running for me, but for them.  If I show them now that I enjoy living healthy and being active, they will also want to be healthy and active in their lives.  The best part is they don't do it to lose weight or look better in a pair of jeans.  They do it because they think it is fun and they want to follow in our footsteps.  This reason alone is the #1 reason I continue to run!

Thursday, May 6, 2010

In the beginning...

When I first started running it was ONLY to lose the weight from having my 3rd child.  I wasn't a runner, didn't like running, and generally wasn't good at running.  My first time out I went with my husband, (who is 6' 2" compared to my 5' 1" stature)  and I thought I was going to die after only less than a mile.  Even though he was running slower for me, his long strides made it difficult for me to keep up and I tired quickly.

Despite the difficulty of my first run I was determined to lose the baby weight, so I agreed to go the next evening.  My husband says to me "this is what we are going to do...we are going to run a 5k tonight."  Naturally I replied with "are you out of your mind?!  I nearly died on last nights run!"   What he said next was advice that changed my entire outlook on running and has transformed me into the avid runner I am today.  He told me to shorten my stride and when I began to feel fatigued shorten it further, almost to the point that I would practically be bouncing in place.  So I tried it, and it worked!  I ran the entire 5k with minimal effort and felt great!

Don't get me wrong, I was definitely tired after the run but I felt good...and more importantly, I did it!  We would run almost every evening after putting the kids to bed, (this wouldn't have been possible without the support of my wonderful mother, however!)  and over time began to increase my mileage.  Soon after I started running I received an email from a local running group that supports young runners.  They were sponsoring a 5k at the local promenade shops.  My husband, sister, brother-in-law, and myself decided to sign-up.  This marked the beginning of my addiction to running and racing.

That first race was exactly a year ago.  Today I have completed four races; including a half marathon and a 12 person 200 mile relay race.  I started a running club called The Middle Distance Runners, and am currently training for my first marathon.  I won't claim to be an expert on running, but I hope that the knowledge I have picked up over the last year and a half will help those of you who want to start running, regardless of your reasons, to get started.  I appreciate any comments or feedback and encourage any and all discussions.  Running has been such a positive force in my life that I want to be able to share that with everyone.