It’s been almost 4 years since I started training for my first long distance race – the IMT Des Moines Marathon in 2008. It’s been a long journey from sprinting in high school to realizing that running a mile wasn’t torture. I’m still not sure what made me decide to run a half marathon and after that, decide I was able to run a marathon. It’s a little scary when I make comments like “I only ran 12 miles this week.”
My running group has heard this story more than once, I’m sure. In high school, our coaches used to punish us by running “campus.” Cedar Rapids Prairie has all 7 buildings (5 when I was there) on one “campus.” Running the perimeter was usually to punish us if they found out we might have attended a party over the weekend or if they knew we were slacking at practice. It was awful. Running campus was the worst thing they could have done. The hills, the distance, the heat!
I graduated in 2003. When I was training for that first half in 2008, I was back at my parents and had a 6 mile training run to accomplish. It’s hard enough to do anything but sit around and eat at family functions, so getting out to do 6 miles was a feat in itself. Since my parents live on gravel, I figured I could drive over to school and run campus before finishing on the track. This was before I had my Garmin GPS watch, so I’d need to drive the distance and finish the rest on my own.
I remember driving around and thinking, “this can’t be right.” I knew it had to be at least a few miles. Nope…1.5 miles! This torturous route was only 1.5 miles!? I honestly couldn’t believe it. After 2 laps around campus, I got bored, so I ran a little on the track and finished a 3rd campus lap.
It was that day I truly considered myself a long-distance runner. I still take the hills too fast thinking, “the faster I get up this thing, the sooner it will be over.” My short runs end up turning into speed work. And when I head back to CR, I know not to run at Prairie…I get way too bored on the short little loop I used to dread.
Getting into distance running has taken some getting-used-to. In college I would go out for a quick 15 minute, full-out run, be home to shower and go out in 30 minutes. Today, I’ve now got to wait for the Garmin to find a satellite, run at a little slower of a pace, run longer distances, and find time to eat shortly after a run, and now I’m trying to improve my stretching habit…which was basically non-existant. It’s a huge commitment, but completely worth it.
After 4 years I think running has finally reached the top 5 of my priority list, along with work, family and Grant, food, and outside activities. It’s hard to make it a habit and sleep has definitely taken a fall as this habit has taken root. Don’t get me wrong, I totally skip out some mornings and if I’m out late the night before a fun run, I have not hesitated to text the running group and declare my AM absence. But I rarely miss my Monday morning runs…a short, but glorious way to start the week.
To switch it up, I attempted 2 sprint triathlons last summer, incorporating some swimming and biking into my morning routines. The bike is way behind on it’s workouts, but swimming has gotten more and more consistent, thanks to some good friends who get me to make the commitment to the pool. It’s them that keeps me motivated to keep running high on the priority list. They workout daily, yet still enjoy life and their families. They’ve qualified for and run the Boston Marathon, done half ironmans, and join in on 20-mile training runs just to be good company. It’s those friends who I’m lucky enough to have. Not to mention all the other running buddies who are constantly motivating themselves, without the company during a run…just themselves and their determination. They’re the one’s who really keep me going.
Anyway, I think I’ve rambled on enough and I’m not sure this has anything to do with my typical blog posts, but we’ll chalk it up to a “journal entry” and call it a night.
One more quick ramble – I’m not sure I’ve ever really adhered to the “Iowa Farm Girl” blog title, so as I hope to pick things up again, I should probably start applying my posts to the reason I started the blog in the first place, which I can get into another time.
For now, I’ll say that this blog is a reflection of where I’ve come from – the Jansa Farm. Without my dad’s love for running, the Hershey race my mom had me participate in elementary (along with some Freedom Festival fun run, I think), some great coaches (Ramaker, Perkins, Becika, and Hall), and a good friend in college who showed me that slowing down was the key to running farther, I might be stuck in some gym somewhere and not outside running the streets and trails of DSM. Running is one thing I brought from the farm.
And so I don’t leave you without a photo and just a boring blog post that really, was more therapeutic for me, than it will be enjoyable for you…
Finally time for bed…until next time!