Running Confessions: Part I

I think it's safe to say that every runner has a few confessions they could make. Like, remember that one time you left for a run with two socks and only came back with one? Or the time you posted a #runbrag about placing third place in your age group, but in reality there were only three people in your division...including yourself. 

Well, I would like to dust off my shoes and share some of my own running confessions in what will hopefully be a new series on the blog highlighting confessions from myself and readers. This may feel like a never-ending post, so hop into your onesies, grab some snacks and get comfy because this is going to take some time...


1. I HAVE TWO RUNNING LIVES: I confess that I have two running lives, or two chapters in my running endeavors. My first "running life" encompasses the ages of 19-25 in which I juggled college (22 hours in one semester), work (Gold's Gym-I opened the gym at 3:30 a.m.), even college work (Student Government, TV-10, Innocence Project and Mock Trial) and fundraising as a charity runner for the American Cancer Society. At that time I didn't think you had to train for a marathon (what an idiot), because I didn't really care about time. More or less I cared about making a difference and raising funds for the ACS (a cause close to my heart) and just being able to say "I ran a marathon." I also had a tendency to overflow my plate with activities. My mom has always said, I thrive on stress. What's a marathon to add to the list? 

During my senior year I turned 21, began thinking I was way too cool for school, went out far too much, endured a string of bad relationships (even a breakup via text...ouch!), moved to Chicago by myself, discovered the "real world" wasn't all it was cracked up to be, regretted graduating college early (3 years) and continued on a downward spiral into a dark place in my life that I don't often like to discuss (and, no I was not involved in drugs--just lacking confidence and had a moment of weakness).  My father taught us not to cry and after his death instead of properly dealing with my emotions, I began to stock pile them with that pile only growing bigger and bigger as the years went on.

My freshman year of college, my "body issues" hit an all-time low. Without going into too much detail, senior year and post-college the pendulum began to swing the other way. Instead of restricting, I began punishing myself by eating too much, feeling guilty and then trying to relieve that guilt by trying to eliminate the food I had just inhaled. Throughout my life, I have always weighed in between 124-134 this time in my life, I ballooned up to 155 lbs! I NEVER talk about this because I never like to relive it. I hate that people ever saw me that way, and I hate to think about that dark place in which no one realized I was in (or maybe they did).

If you're a close friend of mine, you know that I NEVER ask for help. I would never and still never ask for help and that's just how I am. I never want to be portrayed as weak, and I never want others to see a weakness in me. I never feel the need to bother someone with my problems because essentially they're my problems. No bitching and moaning will solve anything, I just need to deal with everything myself. As I've gotten older, I've realized in hindsight that: 

A. At such a young age (13), I never dealt with my father's passing properly. I've never quite dealt with my emotions properly.

B. I have always been thin or average. If you're thin, skinny, or average no one notices or they compliment you. If someone escalates their weight from thin to overweight, you notice. As much as I am ashamed of my actions and really that portion of my life, I now realize I was possibly doing it as a way of asking for help without truly asking for it. 

The only reason I have taken this leap of faith to share more information than I care to with friends and complete strangers, is to show others that you can buck up, take charge of your life (become healthy and happy in regards to mind, body and soul, change careers, end relationships you're not happy with--hopefully not via text, move across the country, etc.) and get out of a rut and go from a 6-hour non-trained marathoner (YES, 6-hours) to a sub-4 still not very well trained marathoner. In addition, I've come to realize that it's okay to share your feelings. In fact, it's probably better to talk aloud or to others than to bottle everything up. And guess what? Every single person goes through some sort of rough patch in their lives, and I am happy that I'm in a place where I can share mine. It's a part of growing up, and I'm wiser and stronger because of it.

So, without further ado...

Here are my "first life" marathon/half marathon times that I refuse do not advertise but still feel like a badass for accomplishing: 

-2005 Chicago Marathon (age: 19) : Time-5:15:41//Net Time: 5:10:44 (when "net time" versus "chip time" existed). I was also advised by my doctor not to run this marathon as I had a cortisone shot in my left knee less than a month prior to the race. 
-2009 Chicago Half Marathon (age: 23): 2:30:13

Side note: It took a lot for me to share this. I sat with this entry in my blog (originally written in 2013) debating whether or not to publish it as it's not just about my previous marathon times, but obviously a problem much larger than that. As a very emotionally private person, it feels like I've just exposed myself in public to complete strangers. In true fashion, I've shared something very sacred and very shameful in a nonchalant post. So on a serious note, if you do have problems with using food as a control to your emotions, please seek help or talk to a friend. You CAN get through it! I am living proof of that. For more on this topic read another blogger gal I like to follow who is currently raising funds and sharing stories on this topic

2. I LOATHE WHEN PEOPLE CALL ME THIN (OR SKINNY): To jump off of #1, I absolutely despise when people call me thin or skinny because I just want to shout at the top of my lungs that I'm actually just ME. I am back to NORMAL. I was built and born with my father's lanky limbs and guess what, this is just ME. This has always been me. I had one blip in my life and now people only see me as that person, not what I've always been. They remember THAT image versus the weight and body I've always had. I am more active and more healthy than I've ever been, and it drives me wild when people try to throw a slight jab by saying, "you should eat more" or "you're so thin." 

I feel like a lot of runners face these comments (in fact, I just saw some horrific comments about Galen Rupp's weight on a Runner's World Facebook post), and I think a lot of us are equally frustrated because I don't know about you but a lot of us run because it's peaceful, it's good for you and I can pretty much eat whatever I want. I eat whenever I want, wherever I want, whatever the hell I want and I don't count calories. I work my ass off because I'm competitive (running fills that need for competition) and I reap the rewards. So don't call me, or others, too thin because it's more harmful than you realize. There are others out there who struggle with body image and disorders, and for those of us who have gotten to a healthy place or have never dealt with those issues it's a slap in the face for all of our hard-work or for genes we simply cannot control. 

Want to be thin? Meet me at the track and eat what Mother Nature intended. It's that's simple. 

Rant//Confession over. 

3. MIZUNO WAVERIDER 16S: I got a pair of these kicks after reading my blogger/runner idol, Skinny Runner (she has since deleted her blog), a little too much. If you've never heard of her, the woman is basically made of titanium and runs close to 15 marathons a year. It's absolutely incredible. Because I am injury-prone, my goal is to be her--a robotic, charasmatic, race-trotting, speed runner. And if being her and injury-free means wearing Mizuno Waveriders or anything that she sponsors posts about on her blog then sign me up! Truth is, I got a pair of these puppies and although they are super cute, they actually irritated my already injured knee more than any other shoe. 

I walked into one of my "local" running stores (one close to Casey's parent's house) and they immediately told me I was walking on the sides of my feet and that the Mizuno's I was sporting had too much stability for me (and the shape of my feet). Ironically, they recommended a pair of Brooks I had already purchased and felt loyal to, a pair I still wear, and have never had a problem with. To this day, Brooks (PureConnect, PureFlow and PureDrift) is still my favorite shoe provider. 

Moral of the story?: Be true to yourself and your body. You can't become someone else, but you can work your tail off and improve yourself by becoming in tune with YOU not your running idol.

4. T-REX: I must confess I run like a T-Rex. I didn't notice it until lately, but I hardly ever use my arms. They just kind of hang place...stiff as a 90-degree-board. It makes me laugh now as I'm trying to fine tune my form, but moving forward I plan to look a little less prehistoric and more like a runner that uses that part of their body to move their momentum forward.

5. 1ST PLACE AGE GROUP: Recently, I took part in my first race (5K) in 7 months due to injury and was stoked to post that I was awarded 1st place in my age group (25-29) and 4th female overall. But, guess what? It was a small race. There were only 33 people in my age group (including myself) and I ran a 23:31. Better yet, the three gals that swept me in the overall race were ages: 11, 13 and 11. Incredible. Most people deserving of this title would have run at least 21 minutes and under (which the young girls who I'll someday see running for Oregon, did). But with that said...after inching my way back into running just weeks prior after the affects of my cortisone shot finally began working, I don't care how small the race was...I'm still proud of that #runbrag. Shove it, runsnobs. 

6. I'VE NEVER TRAINED FOR A MARATHON (OR A HALF MARATHON): My lucky number is 6, so I thought I'd give six confessions and save the best for last. After 7 marathons and countless half marathons, I would like to admit that I've never trained for a single one. I've looked at plans, hell I've even recommended plans, but I've never followed one. In my "first life" of running I hardly ever trained and ran on a whim (hence the 5 to 6-hour time). Stupid. Even in my "second running life" I am ashamed to admit that I have hardly gone over 16 miles. In fact, I trained the most diligently for the Rock 'N' Roll Arizona Marathon and even in that "training cycle" (ha!) I never went over 16 miles. Again, stupid, and probably why I am so injury-prone (that and because I never strength train). In fact, I think I've only ran 18 miles once (on a treadmill) outside of a marathon. I have NEVER followed a training plan which makes me hopeful that as I'm getting older and wiser (approaching a late-20s-I'm-almost-30-crisis) that I will be able to achieve a much faster time and unearth my true potential in 2014 and beyond (running life 3.0?).

With age comes more wisdom and discipline, right? It's just taken me a little longer than most to get there... 



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