I'm a runner. I haven't always been though. Back in 2007, with no training, nor prior running experience, & easily 20 extra pounds on me, I started "training" for the Country Music Half Marathon. I had no idea how to train & instead of taking it slow & gradually increasing my mileage, I immediately got up to 60-90 minute runs & stayed there. Not surprisingly, I developed bursitis in my hip, spent months in physical therapy, missed the half marathon & quit running.
Two years later, in 2009, I did the Race For The Cure 5K with a friend & ended up running most of it. Humph, I thought, maybe I'll try running again. So I secretly started running on my own, just to see if I could. When some of my friends found out I was running, they convinced me to join their Friday morning, 3-mile, group run. I wasn't awesome, in fact, I was a 15-minute mile, but I was running.
In 2010, frustrated at my slow pace, I signed up for the Fleet Feet Summer Speed Session. I paid a pretty penny for this workshop & planned on spending my summer improving my speed. Unfortunately, because I'm me & because my body hates me, I sprained my ankle in the second session & per my doctor's orders, could not run for at least 6 weeks (it was a pretty severe sprain).
So I spent the summer of 2010 not running, but walking, & walking in an ankle brace. When I was finally cleared to run again, my Friday morning running group decided to try a Wednesday night *East Nasty run. It was love at first sight & I started spending every Wednesday night across the river running 3-6 miles. I wasn't sure if it was necessary, but I was still wearing my ankle brace (this will be important later).
In January of 2011, with two-ish years of running under my belt, I decided to try training for a half marathon again. East Nasty offered a training program, so I did that. I think at this point, I had quit wearing the ankle brace. I think... The training went well. I started slow & gradually built up my mileage, but again, I immediately got hurt. This time it was my knee. I went back into physical therapy & much to my chagrin, learned that running in that stupid ankle brace for so long weakened my muscles & ultimately caused my knee injury. Awesome.
Because I had an AWESOME **physical therapist this time, I was up & running again in no time. I did, however, decide to give up on the longer distance runs & to just focus on my weekly group runs. I was in fairly good shape. I was running 3 times a week & doing strength training & yoga in between. Nothing hurt; all of my joints appeared to be happy, so when my friend asked me to start training for a half marathon with her, I thought, 'Well, 3rd time's a charm.' And here we are.
We started MONTHS AGO (seriously, we started in like August/September) & have been slowly, very slowly, increasing our mileage. We stayed at 5 miles for awhile before we moved on to 6 & then we did 6 a couple of times before we did 7, & we just did 8 last week. Tomorrow we're doing 9. That fact that I'm running 9 miles tomorrow kind of blows my mind, mostly because that means next week is 10 & being able to run 10 miles has been a goal of mine for oh, about 5 years.
So far, fingers crossed, my body is shockingly working for me. Nothing hurts, no joints have gone on strike... I am still doing my physical therapy exercises for my knee though (go CLAM!), which assuredly helps. I've also been doing yoga pretty regularly this whole time.
I'm registered for the Tom King Half Marathon here in Nashville on Saturday, March 10th & so far, it looks like I will, in fact, be running it. Crazy!
Stay tuned for a follow-up post on the specifics of how I've been training for this half marathon. Also, see below for more information on the running group, East Nasty & my friend & physical therapist, Brittany, who saved my knee & got me running again. Side note: she's also an East Nasty. ENFL!
*East Nasty: http://eastnastyforlife.com/
**Brittany Endres, Results Physiotherapy: http://www.resultsphysiotherapy.com/locations/middle-tn/green-hills