Thursday, May 7, 2015

Taking It Back To Where It All Began

If you’ve read through my journey, then you know all about how I started running, why I became a runner, and the motivation that got me to the start line. However, I never shared more about the weeks and months that followed my decision to begin running.

As I ran up and over and up and over a very steep bridge with my running group on Tuesday evening, my mind drifted to “the early years”. I began thinking about where I started in my running journey, who I started it with, and how far I’ve come ever since I began running. I had to laugh at the headwind of what felt like hurricane force that was blasting me in the face – seven years ago, had you told me that I would be running laps over this bridge in the not-so-distant future, I would NOT have believed you. Actually, I would have thought you were crazy.

My wandering mind then brought me to my very first 5K, a mere 5 weeks after I began my running journey.

Running Journey (1)

The race was held in 2009, I ran my hardest, and I crossed the finish line with a time of 32:10 and a pace of 10:23. I was so proud of myself for accomplishing that goal, I didn’t think I’d ever beat that time.

Running Journey (3)

However, with a little bit of hard work, I broke the 30 minute barrier just a few months later…and boy was I surprised! (I’m saying to Jason here…OMG, look at the TIME CLOCK!!!)

Now with countless 5K’s under my belt (and many years of training), I’m going for 24 minutes in the 5K distance…and I’ll get there, it just takes time – and I have to remind myself on a daily basis….progress takes time!

Then my thoughts drifted to the half marathon distance. Rock ‘N Roll Mardi Gras of 2010 was my second half marathon and the first where I ran my hardest and gave it my all.

Running Journey

I finished this half marathon with a time of 2 hours and 28 minutes and I truly felt as if I could never run that fast EVER again.

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Fast forward to December of 2010 - after running hill repeats and training hard all fall, I crossed a half marathon finish line with a time of 2 hours and 12 minutes……a sixteen minute PR! I was so excited, I ran up to one of my running coaches screaming with glee!! The funny part….she jumped up and down and did a happy dance with me! To me, that’s the best part about running , we are ALL in this together (and no, I’m not talking about High School Musical…although I do love that movie)!

Again, I thought my 16 minute PR was it, I’d officially achieved MY half-marathon time and I was done…set for life.

Do you see where I’m going with this?

Louisiana Half Marathon (15)

In January of this year, I accomplished one of my life-time goals as I crossed the finish line of my 19th half marathon – breaking 2 hours in the half marathon distance.

Am I super fast? NO, I’m not. Breaking 2 hours in a half marathon was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done in my life….while others breeze by that 2 hour timeline like it’s nothing. We are ALL on different journeys – it’s good to remember that sometimes!

To the new runners out there, don’t get discouraged. Set a goal and focus on the baby steps until you get there – because you WILL get there if you stick with it, sometimes it just takes a little bit of time.

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Setting goals are super important, but celebrating each step along the way is key…

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Its all about the baby steps and being proud of yourself along the way!

So, what’s my next big goal? Breaking 4 hours and 30 minutes in the Full Marathon – but that won’t come for quite a while and I’m OK with that.

Some might scoff at the goals you set for yourself but you know what? These goals are YOUR goals….they are goals you can work hard at achieving and ones you can be PROUD OF when you accomplish them!

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It’s amazing to look back over the last six years and see how far this running journey has taken me. I’ve made some amazing friends and explored incredible destinations all because of running.

I never thought the running bug would bite me like it has, but I’m so grateful it did! Where would I be without running? It’s my stress relief, my afternoon companion, my goal, hopes, and achievements all wrapped into one!

I’ve said all of that to say…..if you’re just starting out on your running journey or you’re discouraged where you’re at, don’t give up! You NEVER KNOW where running will take you or where this path may lead! Who knows what exciting possibilities are in your future….you CAN do incredible things, just believe in yourself!!

How far has your running journey taken you?

18 comments:

  1. I took a step back with injury but before I moved to Dallas, I still didn't love running. I didn't think I'd ever want to do a half, and now I have 4 under my belt.

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    1. That's awesome, Lesley!! Way to go!

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  2. Wow! That's incredible how much time you've taken off your races. Each Half I've ran I've gotten better but only by a minute or so. 2:18 is my PR & I'd love to go below 2:15 & maybe one day a sub 2:00. We'll see!

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  3. How amazing Karen! I loved reading this!!!! Running has definitely changed my life for the better! And I love having goals and accomplishing them!

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    1. I couldn't agree more! :) Thanks, Mindy!

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  4. Karen, you continue to impress and inspire me as a runner. I remember when we were all fledgling runners, looking at our friends with awe. Now I am looking at you with awe! I often think of where I could be now with my running if I hadn't stopped, but all I can do now is keep going and try harder. Thanks for being an inspiration of what you can accomplish with hard work!

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    1. Thanks so much, Morgan...and you're right - just keep moving forward! I think back onto that time a lot, too! :)

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  5. This post gives me warm fuzzies :) It's good to look back and see how far you have come. It's always good to remember the journey!

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    1. I couldn't agree more! Thanks so much!! :)

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  6. I love this post, Karen! You've definitely come so far since you started running! What a great trip back down memory lane.

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  7. I LOOOOOVE this! You've had an incredible journey! It's always so important to think back on "the old days"...I find myself doing that a LOT, especially when I find myself struggling when training for a big race and being hard on myself when I don't meet a particular time goal. You've come such a long way! :)

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    1. Thanks, Jennifer! You're right - it's so important to remember where we came from!

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  8. What an amazing journey with so many awesome new PRs along the way. I hope to break 2 hours this fall/winter and boy it will not be easy for me either (jealous of those who breeze through), but it could be so amazing.

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    1. I know you can do it, Abby! I'm jealous of them, too! lol

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  9. An incredible tale of inspiration, there are backlogs in every human being’s journey but what matter is to get over it and run to the goal post! Keep Running!!

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  10. Very inspirational! I love this post.

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