My Running Story
I’ve never been athletic by any definition of the word. I grew up playing sports because my Dad encouraged me to; and my school was small enough that they pretty much let anyone play whatever they wanted. I was never really great at anything and was only good at Volleyball, and that was after four years of playing. THEN I finally crossed from “kinda knows the rules” to “good.”
As an adult I periodically attempted running. My Dad was always a runner – doing about a 5K several times a week. It was just my Go To when looking for exercise because that’s what he did. I went through phases of doing two miles at a time, usually while trying to lose weight. I got up to three miles before my wedding in 2003, but I was still a smoker at the time so that wasn’t too great on the “fitness” scale of things.
In 2006 I was finally coming out of the haze of having a baby after struggling for years with miscarriages. I had my head on straight and decided it was time to really get in shape. I kinda look at this as my first attempt at running. I think this must be where my story starts, however, my story has several horrible failures. It’s hard to break this down into Attempt 1, Attempt 2 etc. So, I’m going to start by dividing my story into two pieces: Pre-Wesley and Post-Dad Dying. The in-between of those two periods contained miscarriages, pregnancies, births, culminating in my Dad’s battle with cancer and hospice death. Suffice it to say that the in-between period? Involved NO RUNNING.
PART I: PRE-WESLEY
Big Spring Jam 5K : September 2006
I decided I wanted to run my first 5K in September 2006 to coincide with a visit from my Dad. I started training for this 5K on a treadmill in my local YMCA. I never ran outside. I got down to a decent weight and made a HUGE DEAL about my 5K because I was so proud of myself for even training for one. The pride I felt when it was over was intoxicating.
5K Time – 34:17
Huntsville Half-Marathon: November 2006
I spent the next 8 months trying to become a runner. I started training for a half-marathon with the help of an online Hal Higdon training program which I only stuck to partially. I did most of the long runs, feeling solid up until about 10 miles. But I did NONE of the mid-week runs. Since I had really only trained well up to the 10-mile mark, the race ended up being one of the toughest days of my life.
13.1 Time – 2:33:22
Damn Bridge 10K : November 2006
I did have a good 10K run soon after my half-marathon which boosted my confidence. It was held in the town I went to college in and crossed the Tennessee River twice, which I adored. The weather was great and my mood was good. That recap entry is also a good entry of me talking about my pacing issues which still plague me on many levels.
10K Time: 1:03:59
Tucson Half-Marathon: December 2006
I did another half-marathon a few weeks later in Tucson with my brother and felt a LOT better about that race. The weather was perfect and having my brother there kept my morale up. My time wasn’t a whole lot better from that first half-marathon, but my pacing was better. I didn’t kill myself in the beginning and walk in the end. I just kept it easy and walked periodically throughout. I started getting a decent groove.
13.1 Time – 2:32:15
Country Music Marathon: April 2007
Unfortunately, over the winter, my training kinda crapped out. I went from half-assing with a decent groove; to not doing it at all. NOTHING. WHATSOEVER. Because I was just SO COLD.
But – I had still signed up for that damn marathon and my Dad and brother were coming to watch me. *sigh* I finished it, but not very gracefully as you can read. It was one of the toughest days of my life and a perfect example of why you should REALLY TRAIN FOR MARATHONS. They’re really a lot harder if you don’t.
26.2 Time – 7:05:27
From that point? I quit running.
I got pregnant again, had another miscarriage, got pregnant again, had Wesley. Then, in 2009, my dad died. Obviously, I did no running during this time period. To be honest, I did nothing but cope with anxiety and sadness by eating. GO KIM!
PART II: AFTER DAD DIED
Cotton Row 5K : May 2009
I knew I needed to re-shape my life around not having my much-adored Father. I decided to run a 5K with my brother and that gave me my “before” picture and 5K time that I reference constantly now. Mainly because it is what I see as the race that kinda started my current running career. And it’s a great “BEFORE” look and pace to compare myself to.
5K Time – 39:08
Disney Princess Half-Marathon: March 2010
I decided to try running again and signed up to do a Team In Training race in honor of my Dad. I ran the Disney Princess half-marathon in March 2010 but only ran about 8 miles of it since I didn’t really train that well. Never found my groove again; especially since it was so easy to just ignore the training plan without anyone to hold me accountable face-to-face.
13.1 Time – 3:07:53
After that trip, I wasn’t able to even pretend to keep up with running because we were buying a new house and selling our old house for the next several months. Then it was moving and painting and all sorts of things keeping me generally tired.
Finally, in September of 2010, I started boot camp. Here is the first entry I wrote about that boot camp and it CRACKS ME UP. I love boot camp now, everyone who knows me knows that, but that entry? OOOHHH BOOOYYY. I hated it! HA!
Liz Hurley 5K: October 2010
I ended up committing to boot camp for a year and did another 5K in October of 2010. The first 5K I had done in years that I was really proud of. I remember my goal was to just beat 35 minutes which was four minutes off my last 5K time. I did it in 33:05 and I totally credit boot camp for that increase in speed.
5K Time – 33:05
I started doing the periodic 5K and kept improving my time thinking: Damn. This does get easier when you get in better shape!
Cotton Row 10K: May 2011
In May of 2011 I decided to brave my first Cotton Row 10K. It’s a local race that I had been scared of for YEARS. I only ever did the 5K that day because the talk of “THE HILL” scared me so much I avoided the 10K like a plague. I did VERY WELL compared to all of my past running history. I even ran up the hill, which most people don’t do. I was super-proud of myself
10K Time – 1:01:49
I tried to keep my running up over the summer, but wasn’t that successful since I found the heat so daunting.
And then…for the third time in my life I thought: Maybe I’ll do another half-marathon! But this time, after failing so many times before training on my own, I thought maybe I’d do a training group. I signed up with a Fleet Feet group and suddenly found myself actually sticking to running plans.
Liz Hurley 5K: October 2011
This Fleet Feet training class introduced me to speed work. We did speed work at least once a week which – combined with boot camp – really seemed to help me get faster. I decided to run the same 5K I had done the year prior, but I cut almost 7 minutes off this time. And nearly died from pride in the process.
5K time – 25:49
Huntsville Half-Marathon: November 2011
The training made all of the difference in the world. Not only did I start making my first running friends, but I started understanding different paces. I learned that running slowly makes miles go easier! WHO KNEW? I even got up to being able to run the distance before the race which was huge as I had never run that far without stopping for walking breaks. I ended up running the race at a great time. However, I did have pacing issues again, the same ones that haunted me the same race in 2006…just that I was substantially faster this time.
13.1 Time: 2:07:20 – CURRENT PERSONAL RECORD!!
Terrame Midnight 5K: December 2011
And then THIS was the moment in my life. The moment where it hit me: I AM A RUNNER. Because I could have easily given up then. I had quit running after every (failed) attempt to train for distance races before, why not quit now? Because I couldn’t. Running had become such a part of my life that I had to hold onto it. After the training program was over I still ran with my group periodically, we even started running on trails. And then – at a 5K on New Year’s Eve – I PR’ed. And even won my age group since it was such a small race!
5K Time – 25:00 – CURRENT PERSONAL RECORD!
The Rocket Run 10-Miler: March 2012
So…I signed up for another training group. However, since Donnie was doing this one with me, keeping me from a lot of the group runs – I ended up still running with my old group most of the time. I ran my first race (a 10-miler) with a Garmin and FINALLY felt like I could really monitor my pace. I felt good on the race, keeping a steady pace the entire time.
10 mile time: 1:35:14
The McKay Hollow Madness Trail Run : March 2012
I also signed up for my first 25K…which was also a trail race. It was tons of fun and one of the biggest “YAY ME!” moments of my running career because we heard a lot of naysayers during our training. Unbeknownst to my newbie trail-running group, we had picked quite a tough race as our first trail run. In the end though? We had trained well and were ready.
25K Trail Time – 4:26:51
Oak Barrel Half Marathon: April 2012
The Oak Barrel half marathon was the culminating race for my second Fleet Feet training program. Because I had already committed to running a trail marathon, I didn’t want to “race” this race for time. I just wanted to try – again – to stay consistent through the whole thing. To just end it feeling good. Which I did.
13.1 Time – 2:13:24
Scenic City Trail Marathon: May 2012
After having so much fun on my 25K, I had signed up to run my first trail marathon. We had trained well for it, my biggest mistake being that I just didn’t understand how my body would handle running in heat. Our only goal was to finish, so we took it easy which was nice as my running group could have easily ditched me early on if they had wanted to. The most significant thing about that race was I felt better at mile 22 than I did at mile 4. Teaching me the valuable lesson that things can get better on a run, more miles into it.
26.2 Time – 6:38:36
Cotton Row 10K: May 2012
One week after my marathon I decided to run the Cotton Row 10K again since I felt like that was kinda the race that started my successful attempt to become a runner. I didn’t run that much in the hot summer months between the 10K and my half-marathon training program, but for the most part the 2012 revisit to that 10K marked a year of running. I wanted to see if I could beat the prior year’s time, and boy did I ever.
10K Time – 57:24 – CURRENT PERSONAL RECORD!!
At the time that I’m writing this I’m 7 weeks into training for my first Ultra Marathon. As significant races come along, I’ll post the results here. However, the moral of the story is: NEVER GIVE UP. It took several attempts to become a runner in my life before I finally made it to where I am…basically 5 years worth of attempts. I wish it was as easy as waking up one day and saying, “I want to be a runner!” but it’s not. Or it wasn’t for me.
UPDATE! I had to take several weeks off for some reproductive issues. (This entry sums it up.) I had to “postpone” my 50-Miler. I’ve got a 12-hour run in March 2013 that I’m going to try to do 50 miles at, but I’m not sure I can do it in 12. Right now I’m focusing on doing 2 ultra marathons and then that 12-hour run! Either way – hopefully I’ll at least get one Ultra under my belt in 2012, even if it’s not a 50-Miler.
Dizzy Fifties 50K: November 2012
I ran my first Ultramarathon and was able to finish with a smile on my face! I struggled in the middle with some pains from falling and some general sadness, but by the end I felt great again. The social aspect of the race was a huge mood-lifter as I was able to visit with friends every time I stopped for aid. It slowed me down quite a bit but it helped the mental part of the running, without a doubt.
I’m not sure if my life next year will allow for Ultra training, but if it does? I’ll do that race again!
50K Time – 7 hours 39 minutes
Rocket City Marathon: December 2012
4 years after my first attempt at a road marathon, I ran another and crossed the finish-line thankful for my friends. It was tough as it was hotter in December that it normally is, but all-in-all it was a good race. I ran strong for 16 miles, wobbled for the next 4-5, and walked/jog the last 5-6. But even if I struggled a bit I smiled the entire time!
Marathon – 5:18:53 – CURRENT PERSONAL RECORD!!
Recover From The Holidays 50K: December 2012
I liked every thing about this race. It went much better than my first 50K, even though I was expecting it to be worse. Donnie ran the entire thing by my side, which is probably an experience we’ll never have again since he’s not used to running that slow and it kinda nearly killed him. “No one should be running for 7 hours!”
50K – 7:04:25 – CURRENT PERSONAL RECORD!!
Delano 12 Hour Run: March 9th, 2013
This was a perfect race to try to hit 40 miles, and I did it plus a few miles for good measure. Everything was perfect about the race (weather, surface, elevation) except for a few medical-type issues I was having which complicated things. However, even with that cumbersome burden, I still managed to do 42 of my 43 miles in about 9 hours and 30 minutes. I even PR’d a 50K by hitting that distance in 6:51! After 42 miles I took about a 30+ minute break waiting for my family to walk/jog one final lap with me. All in all? A wonderful experience. I can’t wait to try to do 50 some other year!