MY STORY AS A RUNNER
In 2007, I discovered running at the age of 44. Wanting to exercise outside rather than at the health club, I chose to run. My running progressed slowly over the year, running about two to three miles, three times per week. Then plagued by shin splints and winter, I succumbed to working out at the health club to keep up my newfound fitness schedule with a goal to run a 5k at my son’s elementary school. Over that year I realized I LOVED running! The feel of my legs moving underneath me, propelling me forward, listening to music that I never would have found the time for gave me a profound sense of calm, solitude, and accomplishment.
After the 5k, I continued running about three times per week, increasing my distance slowly over the next year to three to four miles at a time. I set a goal to run around Meta Lake in Eagle River, WI, a six-and-a-half mile loop, that my family goes to every summer. By this time I became serious about my running and began studying the art and science of running. I also was plagued by multiple running-associated injuries. I sought out the support of my physical therapy friends for healing. Healing consisted of manual physical therapy as well as a functional rehab program to improve my running mechanics and decrease my muscle imbalances unearthed by my new newfound of running. After three years of running, I still questioned whether I was ready to do a half marathon, until my fifteen-year-old daughter, Jenna, convinced me to try by agreeing to run with me.
Completing the Chicago half marathon with my daughter was life changing. Not only did I get to spend quality, uninterrupted time with my daughter, I realized I accomplished something I never dreamed possible. I became a runner. Jenna and I went on to complete 3 half marathons together before she finished high school.
Over the years I completed multiple half marathons, 10ks, 5ks, and 1 marathon. I was known as an injury-prone runner and to combat that I shifted my running style initially to Chi Running then in 2015 to complete the Milwaukee marathon I adopted a run/walk cycle. After this shift, I no longer became injured.
Within 3 years of completing the Milwaukee marathon, I had to stop running because of great toe arthritis and subsequent surgery in both big toes. There are times I miss the solitude of running in nature for 1-2 hours and the commitment needed to complete a training cycle. I have not found any other activity to replace the feeling of accomplishment and joy running gave me. I, however, get a small taste of that feeling when I work with runners and triathletes to help them meet their athletic goals.