It is no secret that I enjoy working out and running. I never would have considered myself a “runner” in the past. I only considered people runners if they were involved in a cross country or track team or if they had lists upon lists of races and PR’s under their belt. I have only ran in two real races in my running career but have been running for probably about 6-7 years now. As the years have gone on and more recently after my half marathon in March 2016 and the 5k I just ran, I have thought about all of the hard work and time I have put in – I think it would be silly to not consider myself a runner.
Growing up, my dad was always a major influence in my life especially when it came to running. He was in the Marine Corps and running became a big part of his life, not just for PT but just as an enjoyable hobby and way to stay fit. He has ran in numerous marathons, half marathons and I can’t even begin to imagine how many 5k’s. Now he doesn’t just ‘run’ in these races, he actually runs pretty competitively in them and places in his age group. Like he literally has a shrine of all of his awards in one of the rooms of my house growing up. (I can only hope to have one of those myself one day).
Back in February, I was home one weekend and we got to talking. At this point I had been talking about doing a half marathon for almost a year and never had the courage to sign up. Simply because I thought it was physically impossible for me to run 13.1 miles. My dad and I motivated each other and we ended up signing up for the half that night – which was on March 21. Yes, it was a little over a month until the big day – not sure how smart that was, but it all worked out. My dad ran with me the entire time (he could have completely left me in the dust but was nice 🙂 ). We finished in 2 hours and 1 minute. Our goal was 2 hours or less…so ALMOST reached our goal, but there is always next time. But the feeling I had when we were finished was unbelievable – I was so excited to get that finishers medal! Besides the fact that I really messed up my IT Band, it was a great experience. I learned so much about my will power and strength during those two hours – we didn’t even stop once throughout the race and boy it was hard, but I did it.
I think once you race once, you want to continue on with it. I was bummed that my IT band was messed up and I was out of running commission for probably about 4 months after the half. Once I was able to run pain free, I was ready to get back into it. My dad runs in a race in my hometown, the Beaufort Shrimp Festival 5k and I decided I was going to run in it this year. Joel had recently started running (courtesy of the motivation of his new running watch) and so we set a goal to run in the race together. I had already been running 2-4 miles so I didn’t really need much training as far as the distance goes but what I now wanted, was to get faster.
Since I started running year my average pace has always been around 9:00 – 9:45 minutes and have been determined to get this time down. I started with doing interval training on the treadmill, I would walk for 2 minutes and sprint for 1 minute. But I think the thing that actually helped me the most – was pushing myself. When I would go for shorter runs, I would mentally push myself to run faster. I realized that my body could handle it, it was just my mind that had gotten so comfortable in my pace that I never really made myself go faster.
Throughout my training, I tried running a few 5k’s at ‘race pace’ and my best time ended up being around 25-26 minutes. A week or so before the race, Joel asked me what goal time I wanted to aim for to finish in. I honestly said that I didn’t know because I didn’t know what my body could physically do. I would have been happy with 25-26 minutes.
Race day came and Joel and I completed the race in 24:08 – that is an average pace of 7:43. I don’t think I have ever ran this fast in my life. And I will not lie, it did not feel good. The race included a bridge, which I thought I would be very prepared for because I had been training in Atlanta with a lot of hills. Starting out on the bridge was great but coming back was not as easy. About .75 into the race Joel told me that we probably needed to slow down because our average pace was about 7:45 – I literally could not believe this! There was no way I was running this fast, I felt GREAT. But took his advice and slowed down. We ran more on the flat land out and back to the finish. About .50 from the finish we had to go up the bridge again – at this point, the air was so humid and I was running so quickly that it was getting hard for be to breathe. Joel kept asking me if I was okay – to which I quickly responded “SHUT UP, stop talking to me” and toughed it out and finished the race. I was so excited to see the time on the timer!
The point of this whole speal is to believe in yourself and the things you are capable of. Your body is capable of so many things physically, it is just the mental aspect that keeps us from reaching our full potential. My experience with running has really boosted my confidence in my strength and abilities. Not only in running, but in every day life. You never know what you are capable of until you try. I have lived most of my life “in the comfort zone”. It takes some pushing to get out of that zone, but boy it feels good.
– Sarah Beth Bosco