Here I am, sitting a week out from my first marathon, and I’ve just now realized that I’ve never really shared my running story on this blog. It’s something that I’ll tell people every now and again when it comes up, but it’s not at the forefront of every conversation. Rather, it seems that people get excited and worked up over the fact that I even run at all.
I actually started running due to health problems back in high school. For most of the last quarter of my junior year, I was in extraordinary amounts of pain. I couldn’t sit upright for longer than ten minutes, I could barely walk, and I always felt like someone was taking a rusty knife to my stomach. I went to the ER on more than one occasion because my primary care physician thought that I was suffering from appendicitis and was ready to call in the surgeon to remove the offending organ. But all they could ever find was that my digestive tract was backed up.
They wound up having me go through a colonoscopy because my gastroenterologist thought that I may have problems with my digestive system – my grandfather had died from colorectal cancer, so we figured we should gather as much information as we could. There I went, a seventeen year old girl who had to have her first colonoscopy done in the hospital because she was too young to have it as an outpatient procedure. The only thing I remember vividly about the whole thing was that when they gave me the IV for my anesthesia, I almost passed out; I was so hungry and tired and probably even a little dehydrated from the prep for the surgery. I overheated and cried for my mom to take off my socks so I wouldn’t overheat and pass out. After that, they wheeled me into the room and knocked me out. I really felt nothing after that and didn’t wake up in any pain, just hungry.
They found out that my bowels were twisted, which was just as painful as it sounds. I couldn’t go to the bathroom as regularly as most people, and it wound up causing me intense pain. They informed me that it was in the mid-stages, where it was causing me a lot of pain but probably didn’t need to be operated on. Instead, they told me to start drinking plenty of water, eating healthier foods, and getting plenty of exercise.
After my surgery, my mom and I went to a local pizza place for pizza and breadsticks. I ate a lot more than I should have and honestly felt a little nauseous. But instead of going home and sleeping, we walked half a block to the local running store. And on that day, the same day as my first colonoscopy, I wound up also buying my first pair of running shoes.
I was so slow that it’s absolutely unreal. But I kept going, training until I could run most of a 5k with a few walk breaks. I ran my first 5k in June of 2012, finishing around 32 minutes or so. At another 5k in July, I ran into the cross country coach from my high school and he convinced me to join the girls’ team. So I did. That August, I ran with the cross country team two weeks before school started, then split it with my senior band camp the week prior to school.
I only wound up running in a few meets, as I had a lot of conflicts with marching band. But I still never finished last, and that had always been my primary goal. That November, after cross country had already been over for a few weeks, I ran my first half marathon in just over 3 hours.
Since then, I’ve run 3 more halfs, a 10k, two 7k’s, and quite a few 5k’s. There have been sometimes in local races where I place in my age group, and there was one race this past summer where I was the third woman overall across the finish line. I’m so excited for my first marathon coming up this weekend, but I’m also super-nervous at the same time. I know that I’m going to finish somehow. But I have a hierarchy of how I would like to finish.
- Basic Goal: Finish upright
- Bigger Goal: Finish in under 6 hours
- Even Bigger Goal: Finish in under 5:45
- Stretch Goal: Finish in under 5:30
Some of my longer runs recently have been putting me finishing right around the 5:30 mark, and I’m feeling pretty good. I’m really nervous but so ready to just get it over with and be able to say that I’ve done it. I’m already tossing around the idea of doing a spring marathon, but you’ll have to ask me the same question next week to see if I’m still considering it.