The Moment I Became A Runner

I am a runner. I don’t try to hide it. I am a talkative runner. I like to tell people all about the race life. I am a happy runner. I actually like running. I am a dedicated runner. It is my life now. — I used to hide it. I used to never speak of it. I used to think people would judge me for it. No one understood it. Majority of people I know still don’t. Why put yourself through all the pain and discomfort they ask?! “You must be crazy, they say! Why do you run?, they ask (I will answer that question after my first half). The point is I am a runner. It’s what I do as my hobby, my sport. Some choose to play soccer or play the piano, I choose to run.  But at what point did I actually consider myself a runner?

Here is an entertaining list that reminds myself and all my friends/family everyday that I am a runner.

– The amount of running clothes I own have tripled. I even have them organized by clothing item!

– If I see someone else running and I’m in the car, jealousy strikes!!

– I have never enjoyed buying socks as much as I do now. I love compression socks! $50 dollars… what??? GURL that’s expensive. For socks?…. But I NEED them!

– I go to TJ Maxx once a week to see if they have any cute running clothes!… Oh wait… I go to Marshalls too!

– Race fees: those things are not considered an “expense”.

– Running shoes: I have them organized by brand. My absolute favorites are my Brooks! Let’s not forget I can’t get those wet or dirty. So if it’s raining, hello training shoes!

– Sick days: Poor soul can’t handle it. A few months ago, I was sick for 5 days. I tried everything under the sun to explain why I was ok and needed to run. My response to others comments: but you don’t understand.

– Fridays before race day- coworkers: “what do you want for lunch today?” OMG ITS FRIDAY! I have to have EGGS!

– Friday nights: laying out clothes and fueling up for Saturday’s race. Priorities!

– Food: I eat all the time. Basically I run to eat. Lunch time usually goes something like this. Me: I’m hungry. Work friends: Let us finish this and we will go. Me: but listen. Work Friends: Ok, I’m listening. Me: I have to have my protein. Basically, I’m going in to starvation mode here. Work Friends: We think you will be ok. Me: but you don’t understand.

– When I see a car with a running sticker on the back window, it usually goes something like this: ohhh they a runner too! They get it! Hey wait I wonder if I know them??

– At work, I’m no longer asked what my weekend plans are. It’s more like where are you running this weekend? Well I am running here, and let’s not forget here and oh wait Sunday I am running here too.

As silly as some of these are, they are all true. To all my fellow runners out there I hope you can laugh at some of these and relate to them. I considered myself a runner the moment I quit worrying about how slow or how fast I was and just ran. Even if I have to walk some of the race, I still get out

there and do it. You become a runner the day you lace up your shoes and walk out the front door! Thankfully, I have never looked back! There is no checklist you have to follow in order to be a runner. Just go run. Find your moment and have fun!

2016 Recap

My journey began in 2012 when I randomly walked in the kitchen and said I’m going to run a 5K. At that point, I had never ran a day in my life. I was an overweight child growing up and my parents begged me to start walking. I started walking in middle school but never thought about running until after I graduated from high school. The walking helped take some of my childhood weight off but I decided I wanted to push myself further. My first 5K was Burnin Up The Blacktop in Downtown Athens. I finished the race in 42:00 minutes and less then a month later, I finished my second race in 36:08. I have ran every weekend since then. My clock time has always been all over the board and until now I didn’t put much effort in to cutting it down. August 2016 was my turn around point. I decided I wanted to see just how far I could take my weekend running addiction. I started to see that I could place in my age group and I was having fun getting my friends involved in running. Since August I have cut my 5K clock time down from 40 minutes to 32 minutes. I ran a total of 42 races in 2016. I started running 8K’s and in 2017 I have 10K’s and half marathons I have signed up for. One thing is for sure, 5K’s are so addicting and I plan to run a lot more of them in 2017. You are not competing with other runners, you are competing with yourself while getting all the encouragement and support from other runners.

What’s really cool about all of this is I have my whole work team running and walking with me. My friend and I started a running club in November called Dynamic Run Club. We do group runs 2 or 3 times a week and we have people that have never ran before, running with us. It’s really neat to see what the power of running can do for people. My friends are shaving off time on the clock and are placing in their age groups at 5K’s. What’s amazing, is my best friend started running with me and took his 5K time down from 38 minutes to 26 minutes in 4 months. How cool is that?! I always tell him he was made to be a runner. So proud of him and all of the other members in DRC that have taken the step towards a healthier lifestyle. Visit www.letsall.run to learn more about us and to join our team to come run with us!

2016 was also about gaining an awesome running family. I have a lot of amazing people that support me and give me advice about running. I get to see these people every weekend and it makes running so much fun. It’s the support from my friends that keep me going. I was reading an article in a magazine this week about women runners running alone and getting hurt. I thought to myself I very rarely ever run alone. I can always find someone to run and train with. In fact, my best friend is always by my side, so I don’t have to alter my running plans for safety, etc. It’s an awesome feeling knowing I have running buddies all over the state of Georgia!  Thank you to everyone who made 2016 such a great year out at races. A big thanks to my bestie who has been supporting me since day 1 when I decided to step up my training and go for the big time! He even stands out in the cold to let me do sprints and times them for me. He has spent countless hours running with me, going to boot camp and looking for races that we can do. My mom also deserves a medal for coming with me to all my races in the heat, rain, cold, and wind to let me run my heart out. She’s my picture taker and pit crew helper! Look for mama B at all my races in 2017 and smile, because she will probably be taking your picture!

I used to sit down and write out my New Year’s Resolutions in hopes of obtaining my goals and aspirations. Since becoming a runner, I don’t need any resolutions. My only goals for 2017 is to run more, get my time down to under 30 minutes in a 5K and complete some half marathons. Before I was a runner, I used to try to achieve a certain weight goal. Now, I am not defined by the numbers on the scale. I eat to fuel my body for these runs. I used to try to get involved with charity, now I run races every weekend that benefit a good cause.  Instead of worrying about a list, I lace up my shoes and just go.

Here is what I have coming up for January:

-New Year’s at Noon 5K

-Twilight Stroll at the Granite Bowl 5K

-Warner Robins Air Force Base Half Marathon (MY FIRST HALF)

-Hot Chocolate 5K

-Winterville Snowflake 10K

Find Your Motivation

Running is by far the hardest and easiest thing I have ever done. After all, you only need shoes and some gear to run. That’s the easy part. The hard part is convincing yourself to run 3, 6, 13, even 26 miles.  It takes a lot of mental training, perseverance, and motivation to complete these miles. Runners often start to give up, I know I have over the last several years. Here are some motivational tips for beginner runners or seasonal runners that are looking for some new ideas.

1. Find a Running Buddy

Running buddies are the best! You know you have to meet them at a specific time which will motivate you to get out of the bed or the chair. Having a running buddy can make your training runs in to a social hour so it’s not just a boring run. My running buddies are awesome and they motivate me to keep going when I want to give up.

2. Register For a Race

You know you want to, so go ahead and do it. Signing up for a race will help you stay on track with your training runs. Tell everyone you know what you are doing. By telling people, it will commit you to follow through so you can show off your accomplishment.

3. Mix Up Your Training

Doing the same routine over and over again can get boring. Try mixing your training week up by incorporating a new exercise. Cycling and yoga are some good exercises for runners.

4. Improve Your Mental Health

Running can be exhausting and the more miles you do the more tired you feel. However, running releases stress and helps improve your mental health. This can be a powerful motivator, especially when you feel accomplished after a run.

5. Set Goals

As a runner, I have a pretty significant list of goals mapped out for the next two years. Therefore, sit down and create a bucket list of realistic goals. Having a goal in sight will keep you motivated to train harder. Also keeping track of your performance whether it is training runs or races, can be a powerful motivator.