I've been running for the last 4 years, however, I didn't really appreciate or enjoy it until last summer (2009). For me, running consisted of a few miles here or there, mainly on a treadmill, but occasionally outside on the sidewalks and through neighborhoods. Last summer, my boyfriend, Craig, was training for the Chicago Marathon. I joined him for a few of his runs and pretty soon I began attacking early Saturday morning long runs with him.
At this point I was only doing 3-4 miles at a time and my greatest mileage in one day was 6 miles split into two workouts. On my first long run morning, our goal was to hit the levee at 5:30 am, but I don't think we ended up making it out there until sometime after 6 am. Since, I'd never done a long enough run to warrant owning a hand held water bottle, he loaned me one of the many that are spilling out of cabinets in the kitchen and packed it with a couple of Espresso Love flavored GUs. Craig has a Garmin (305 I think?) and inspects it frequently on his runs. I was used to running at whatever speed felt "good". He was out to do 14 miles and I was only going to do 7 miles and then read my book while I waited for him to finish. I kept up for the first 5.5 miles and then dropped behind, but finished my first ever 7 mile run while Craig cheered for me and told me how great I did. What a guy! Even though I hurt, I felt so alive and thoroughly worn out and happy! Gotta love endorphins!! I'd just accomplished something I never would have expected. That feeling alone was fantastic. He took off for his second half while I stretched, grabbed my book and walked about mile down the levee to await his return. When he came back, I jogged the last mile in with him trying to encourage him on that last rough mile. So began our Saturday morning ritual. As he increased his mileage for his marathon training, I increased mine. A couple weeks into it, he convinced me that I should try a half marathon. "You're almost there anyway. You should just do it." I'd done a few 5Ks, but never anything more. It was kinda scary, but even more exciting to think that I could do it. Two days later, I signed up for the Mahaffie Half Marathon in Olathe, KS in Nov.
Even with the totally unexpected, massive amount of hills at the Mahaffie that I hadn't properly trained for, I finished in 2:11. In the last 2 miles, I was really bonking. There was a 70 year old man in front of me and I was just getting more frustrated and depressed that I couldn't pass him. I hope I'll be in as good shape as he is when I'm that age. I had to walk the steep inclines and everything hurt. I wasn't sure if I'd make it and even thinking that was pissing me off. And then, there was Craig. Waiting for me at the 12 mile mark. It was like our Saturday morning long runs reversed. He appeared as I came around a corner and I couldn't help but get that goofy smile. He'll never realize how happy I was to see him, even though when he asked how I was doing, I think my reply was, "Shitty. I've never hurt this much." We ran the last mile together and as I got close to the finish line, his presence gave me that extra boost to put whatever I had left into "sprinting" across the finish. I'm sure it wasn't a sprint, but it was the most I could do, and it sure felt like it to me.
And this is how I got hooked.