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A Year Ago Tomorrow . . .

August 13, 2008

. . . I ran a mile for the first time. I’d been walking on the treadmill for a while, adding running quarter-mile and half-mile running stretches. For the heck of it, I’d try to keep track of which laps I’d walked and which ones I’d run. When I came in, I’d write it down. On that day, I walked a half mile, ran a half mile, then alternated walking and running quarter miles for the next mile and three-quarters, and then . . . I did it! I ran for one mile. I finished off with one walking lap for a total of four miles. The next day I got more ambitious: I ran for a mile and a half, and my total distance that day was five miles.

Yes, I know now the experts recommend you don’t increase your distance by more than 10%. Back then I was so excited to discover I could run! By the 22nd of August I was running 2 miles at a stretch, with another 1.5 later in the run, for a total of 4.5 or 5 for the day. I didn’t increase my distance for some time after that, instead working on reducing my walking distance and turning it all into running distance.

Ready for some before and after? Don’t you feel bad for the person in the first picture? Seriously?

I was a fitness runner for months, finally entering my first 5k in December, my first 10k two weeks later. I completed my first half marathon in February.

My challenge now is to balance ambition, trepidation, and good sense. I want to improve my times at all distances, without overtraining and inviting injury. Some distances you only get to try once or twice a year, so it’s especially important to do well at them when you get the chance.

The 26.2 monster? A good question. Many of my friends have done their first with under a year of running under their belts. I’m undecided. I’ve picked the likely race, and have a willing training partner. Now that the kids are young and I’m not working is the most likely time for me to train for it. Can the knees take the necessary mileage? Can I resist setting a time goal? The goal, for now, is a sub-2 half. We’ll see how training continues, and how the body reacts to continued 40+ mileage weeks.

Happy runniversary to me!

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