…to yet another running blog. I realize there are no shortage of these things but I haven’t found many that feature average-to-slow runners who are trying to juggle working out with a full-time job and raising a toddler. So if you’re in the same or similar boat, maybe it will help to know you aren’t alone.
I’ve never been a particularly athletic person – the extent of my sports experience in high school was being in the marching band (which was much more demanding than many people realize, but still not as intense as traditional sports). When I got to college, my tiny liberal arts school didn’t have a band, so I just occasionally worked out with friends. Once I was out of college, my workouts became even fewer and farther between.
However, I started working for UPS, a corporate sponsor of the Peachtree Road Race and met several people who were runners and/or ran the race. It sounded like an incredible experience and something I aspired to do, but I didn’t think I could do it without a LOT of training – after all, I could barely run one mile without feeling out of breath, let alone 6.2! Finally, in 2012, something in me just said “Screw it! It’s time.” I started training for the race after I signed up in March 2013, first with the Couch to 5k program and then the Bridge to 10k. In 2013 I ran my first race ever (a 5k) in May with a time of 40:20 – really slow, but I was pretty proud of it. On July 4, 2013, I ran my first the Peachtree Road Race and my first 10k, with a time of 1:22:51. Considering I started in the very back, so my race involved a LOT of bobbing and weaving, I knew I could do better. I actually ran another 10k only a week and a half later and shaved almost seven minutes off of my time.
I kept running throughout 2013 and 2014, despite some minor injuries, working full time, and a brief stint back in school. I got slowy faster (Ah! I said it!) and then in January of 2015 I found out I was pregnant! My doctor said it was ok to keep running, but they recommended I keep my heart rate under 140 bpm which was VERY difficult for me – I found out later this was somewhat antiquated advice, but it still weighed in the back of my mind anytime I worked out during my pregnancy. I ran a couple of 5ks, but I wore a heart rate monitor and mostly walked to be safe. I continued to do some prenatal fitness classes; but it just wasn’t the same – I missed running.
After my little Nugget was born, I tried to get back to running when he was about 10 weeks old, but quickly realized I had some issues that lingered from being pregnant. I tried to fit in runs when I could, but it was HARD – for one, my little dude was NOT a good sleeper so I didn’t get much sleep either, plus I was working and trying to breastfeed/pump. I signed up for a 5k on Thanksgiving (about 15 or so weeks postpartum) and ran with the blazing time of 49:25. Yeah. I ran the Atlanta Women’s 5k in March 2016 and the Peachtree again, but was still very slow compared to my old times.
So, that brings us to now(ish). When my little guy turned a year old, he FINALLY started sleeping through the night, and so I just started waking up at 5 a.m. to go to the gym before work. I’m still working through some hip and pelvic issues, but I ran the Thanksgiving Day 5k again and shaved a full 10 minutes off of my time to get a 39:22! I know it’s not much to most people, but I was ECSTATIC to be sub-40.
My next race is the Atlanta Track Club Resolution Run 4-Miler on January 1st. It will be only my second race longer than a 5k in over two years, but now I’m excited to see how well I can do. I ran a four mile race about two and a half years ago, so I’m not expecting to PR, but I’m trying to keep in mind throughout this training that even slow progress is still PROGRESS.