I re-organized the running bibs on my wall last week and grew even more reminiscent about running than I usually am. Haha! I realized that I have a lot that I really want to share with you about these races—more than the few race recaps I have posted on this blog. Here is my list of races so far (starting in June 2014, during what I consider to be my first race):
Utah Valley 10k, June 2014
Ragnar Relay Wasatch Back, June 2014
Run Through the Lavender 5k, Summer 2015
Thankful 5k, November 2015
Temple to Temple 5k, July 2016
Red Rock Relay, October 2016
Voices of Courage 5k, October 2016
Payson Pay-It-Forward 5k, May 2017
Race for Red 5k, May 2017
AF Canyon Half Marathon, June 2017
Temple to Temple 5k, July 2017
Nebo Half Marathon, August 2017
Cottonwood Heights Thanksgiving 5k, November 2017
Part 1: The Beginning: Casually Running
Aside from, if I recall, walking a 5k with my mom once when I was a teenager, I feel like I’ve been running casually and semi-regularly since about summer 2008, when I moved out to Utah. But very, very casually—likely only one or two miles at a time, and participating in the occasional 5k “race” to have something to work toward. I also remember being plagued with shin splints often during this time.
Note: I was trying to think of 5k’s I’d done in the past to look up those times, if they still existed anywhere on the internet. I found a 5k I did in August 2009, and my time was 32:39. I think that was my average, or even my best at the time, with that casual running. I looked up another I had done in May 2012 and my time was 39:38. (I truthfully don’t remember a single thing about this race, aside from a memory of pulling into the packet pickup the night before, and the knowledge that I did a 5k the morning before my friend’s wedding. But maybe that’s why I’m doing these posts—because I DON’T remember these things well, and I want to).
In February 2014, I found myself heartbroken and crushed when I experienced a misunderstanding with one of my closest friends, and he no longer wanted to be friends with me anymore. Like, shaken to the core, falling into a deep depression sort of crushed. For probably close to 6 weeks, the only times I felt happy were when I was exercising—so, thanks to my job with the city and a free pass to the rec center, I found myself on the elliptical and treadmill often that winter. Me and 30 Rock on my phone’s Netflix app.
Another perk of working for the city: I was offered a STEEP discount on the Utah Valley races that June. I decided to sign up for the 10k because it was SUCH a good deal, and even if I didn’t do it, I’d only be out a few bucks. (Like really, nothing).
My sad-running found a purpose. I started running around my neighborhood at night, often with friends from my apartment complex. This was the first race I feel like I “trained” for. This was the first race that I really stretched myself for.
I ran the race, and somehow got 57:15 (which is still better than a lot of the 10k runs I do now. Ha! It must have been the adrenaline). Shout out to Kenzie and Marina who came to support me, by the way! 4 years later and it still means so much to me!
About a week later, Rebecca, an old friend from my hometown who I hadn’t seen in YEARS, posted on Facebook that she was going to Utah to run the Ragnar Relay that weekend and they had an open spot on their team, and would anyone be interested. Running a relay had been something I had always thought would be cool to do, but I doubted my abilities. Gratefully, it was the “easiest” leg of the race, and I was already trained up because of the 10k I had done just days earlier. So exactly two weeks after my first 10k, and just probably 4 days after the invite to join the team, I found myself running a Ragnar Relay in the beautiful mountains of Utah with a bunch of strangers… and I LOVED it. From the notes on my old iPhone, I have the approximate times from my three legs (taken from my cheapo running watch with the stopwatch on it):
Leg 1: 4.7 miles in 46 minutes
Leg 2: 3.6 miles in 39 minutes
Leg 3: 3.1 miles in 39:30 minutes
That’s where it started, friends.
A lot of my running has been running FROM something—heartache, depression, vices, etc. But what starts as a means of escape has often turned into a source of deep joy and fulfillment. I am so grateful for my health, and a body that lets me do this thing that I love.
Up next: Continuing to run casually, and then the shift to structured training and focused goals.