Thursday, July 26, 2012

My running family

Purdue BGR takes on Ragnar
I have been lucky to be introduced to several amazing people and to have had many amazing students who inspired me. In 2009, some of my former students from when I worked at Purdue University tagged me in a photo at the Seattle Fish Market. They were running a Ragnar relay race. Their team was pirate themed and all the photos in the album on Facebook reminded me why I missed those guys. I looked into the Ragnar, to see what it was and day dreamed of having the ability to run a relay with them.

Mary Beth being all hardcore
I had been working out with a personal trainer and getting stronger and healthier. I had found the Warrior Dash at Windham because it was the closest thing to the Ragnar I could find locally and I was ready to sign up for it. Then,  I was side tracked when I broke my collar bone. I couldn't weight lift and I needed to do something, so I started walking. I watched my brother go run and complete the race that I so badly wanted to run. While talking to Mary Beth, another former student (this time from University of South Florida) she said to me, that if I could walk 3.2 miles in an hour, I could definitely run 3.2 miles. She convinced me to sign up for a race and let people know about it.

Rule#1 - Cardio

So, I signed up for the Troy Turkey Trot 5K and I told lots of people. It was during my training for this that I talked to Joel about running for the first time. I got some pointers & encouragement. He told me his brother Ed was running the race and eventually we had our own little team, based on my philosophy that my training was purely for the fact that if chased by zombies, I wanted a fighting chance. I had caught the racing bug after that and ran in several more races, including my first Boilermaker.

Kerry being all hardcore!
Ed convinced me to check out group running and to look at this group called BeRunning. I was skeptic of running in a group, because I'm hella slow. But I was teamed up with a mentor - Kerry, who still this day amazes me with the things she has planned. Seeing her sign up for next years IronMan Lake Placid is like the coolest thing ever and knowing she'll rock the NYC marathon is just as cool to me too!

Joel & Ed at the Boilermaker post party
I also met Jenika during my time with BeRunning and Jenika introduced me to USAFit and with both Ed & Jenkia assuring I could complete a half marathon, I jumped in. I thought it was crazy, and it is crazy but that's how I got into my first Boilermaker and this year, I completed my second Boilermaker. I desperately wanted to get a picture of all my running mentors together at the Boilermaker, because they were all there! But I did manage to get a photo with Joel & Ed at the end of the Boilermaker this year.

I love that orange hat & the lady underneath.

It's been a few weeks since the Boilermaker, I was side tracked with a sinus infection, very sore knees, and the opening of my summer production. I've taken some time away from running and noticed it was affecting my mood and I wanted to run but I knew that my body was saying rest. A few text messages checking in on me from Jenika, along with several really great new running friends from USAFit,  kept me positive and have meant the world. I asked for buddies this week to run with to make sure I got out for my miles, and had people immediately respond.

Jenika and I met up last night at SUNY Albany. Albany Running Exchange was on the track doing their speed work and she and I went out for a run. She asked how much I wanted to do and told me to set the pace. I said I wanted to at least get 40 minutes in and try for 3 miles. Not only was it good to go out and do something physically, it was really good talking with Jenika. See, the thing that they don't tell you when you start group running, is that the people you run with week in and week out become your confidants. When you are running (without headphones) you start to get to know those people, they understand when you have good or bad runs. They understand when life gets too rough and allow you space but will check in to get you back on track. They remind you that you can when everything else is telling you that you can't.

While we ran last night, Jenika told me about Trail Running Camp and how she got some coaching on running hills from some other seasoned runners. It's really neat to see your mentors talk about when they need advice or help on running, and how grateful they are when they get that feedback. It's funny because I am sure that my students from Purdue, Mary Beth, Joel, Ed, Kerry, and Jenika do not realize how much "this littler runner who could" looks up to them and takes to heart the advice & inspiration that they give me. 

So thanks guys. I've got big dreams and big shoes to fill.

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