Running Backwards: How I first tried and failed to become a “runner”, part 1

Although I had been running for various reasons over the years while growing up, it was never because I actually wanted to run.  It was always as a result of someone else telling me I had to run. 

SumoEver since I was really young I have been someone that loves to try new things.  I was also fortunate to have parents that let me indulge that trait, so I tried just about every sport you can think of (apart from Soccer, which is still one of my biggest regrets, but that is a story for another blog post), and most of those sports included some degree or another of running.

Although running was something I had to do relatively frequently, I never ran enough to get good enough to enjoy it, and therefore never got to the point where I would have considered myself to be a true “runner”. In fact,  I never even thought about becoming a true “runner” until I was in my early twenties.

When I made the official decision to get into running I went about it in a vastly different way than most people, you might even say my approach was completely backwards.

Most reasonable people who are looking to become runners start with a nice 5k, or maybe even just a simple 1 mile goal.  But not me, no siree, I decided to go from zero to sixty and start training for a full Marathon.  Yep, that’s right, 26.2 miles.

I know that sounds totally crazy, but there really was a method to my madness.  I have always been a procrastinator, especially when it came to things I didn’t like to do like writing papers, or say, running.

So as a procrastinator that also happened to not like running, I knew I needed some sort of catalyst that would force me to run.  I also knew that the longer the distance, the more training you would have to do, and the less chance you could not train at all and just “wing it” when race-day rolled around.  As an employee of REI at the time, I was coincidentally surrounded by active, fit people who I knew would be more than happy to help motivate me once I told them about my plans.  I even managed to find another non-runner who was crazy enough to train with me.

twin cities maraton before

That was the only time I have ever successfully run with another person.  My friend Karla and I turned out to be a perfect running match.  And we actually had fun running together.  The added bonus was that I never missed a single long run, because I knew she was counting on me.  My individual short runs during the week didn’t go all that well, but I figured the long runs were the important part.

Karla and I managed to make it to 13 miles before the actual race (not quite the ideal if you were to ask most Marathoner’s out there) but still a substantial improvement over my typical 0 miles.  Then before we knew it, it was time for race day already.

Tune in tomorrow for the exciting conclusion…


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