My Running Story

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This is the story about how a regular everyday mom found the discipline and determination to complete a marathon.  In the quick tip segment, I talk about how to prevent and deal with shin splints.

100_3600I never thought of myself as an athlete. 

I didn’t play team sports and was more comfortable with my nose in a book.  How did I go from an introverted teenager to a confident marathoner? 

This is my journey. . .

I started running sporadically in high school mostly because I wanted to lose weight (like most girls).  One summer between semesters I had the goal of running 10 miles.  Several mornings a week I walked down to the high school track to build up my miles.  I remember the 40 laps it took to run 10 miles.  So much monotony and yet so much triumph. 

The glow of those 10 miles carried me through several years of running but I never worked back up to that level for many years.  Soon I had graduated nursing school, started working full time, got married, had two kids, and moved across the country.

All those years I exercised regularly but had never taken my running to the next level.  Now I was in a new state and didn’t know many people.  It felt like I needed something to give myself a purpose. 

On a whim I ran a local 5K and although it was painful I enjoyed the competition.  I started training for another 5K and suddenly set my sight on something bigger.  I had been subscribing to Runner’s World for a couple months and found the stories about normal people who conquered great distances very inspiring.  I knew I had to run a marathon.

I didn’t know any other runners, especially anyone who’d completed a marathon.  Despite the lack of group support I went online and read everything I could about training for a marathon.  I researched races and settled on the Country Music Marathon in Nashville, TN in April 2008.  My husband was supportive, but because of our limited budget my Mom “sponsored” me for the race. 

I printed off a training program from the internet and started training seriously in December.  Looking back it was rough to run outside through the winter.  I didn’t have a gym membership or access to a  treadmill.  I ran 5-6 days a week in wind, rain, snow, and ice.  It was rough some mornings, but also exhilarating.  I was just an ordinary wife and mother, but I was making my dream come true. 

Then I began to be plagued by injuries.  Lower back spasms left me so sore I could not get in and out of the car without help.  Thankfully we found an affordable chiropractor who got me all fixed up.  I also struggled through shin splints and sharp nagging knee pain.  But I knew that I would finish that race even if I had to limp the whole way.

When race day finally arrived it was drizzly and overcast but I didn’t care.  The energy around me was palpable.  Looking in front of me was a sea of runners, looking behind me stretched runners as far as the eye could see.  We were all there for a united purpose.  We had each worked so hard to get there.

The gun went off and we started shuffling along.  It was a couple miles before I was able to find my stride in the midst of so many runners.  I was used to running alone and being surrounded by other people made the miles slip away. 

At mile 13 the half-marathoners veered off and I found myself thinking that I still had half way to go.  At mile 20 I was in virgin territory and the heat and humidity was beginning to wear me down.  But I never seriously considered stopping and walking.  Then suddenly there was the finish line and I surged to finish strong.  My finishing time was 4:10:15.

No matter how many races I run in my lifetime, I don’t think I’ll forget that first marathon.  Conquering that distance definitely changed my life.  I have learned how to train smarter since that time and minimize soreness and injury.  I also found that the most important ingredient to finishing a marathon is confidence. 

The most recent marathon I ran I set a personal goal of finishing in less than four hours.  I trained smarter, visualized success, and finished in 3:59:03.

Thanks for reading my story. . .

Now I would love to hear yours.

8 Responses to My Running Story

  1. Delores Danzer April 6, 2010 at 4:59 pm #

    I thoroughly enjoyed your story. Every time I read or listen to one of your podcasts I get motivated to run. The seed has been planted in my brain that I could actually someday run a marathon too. I do like that idea. My biggest problem will be the discipline to do the training. My discipline lies more in the area of nutrition, which is an important aspect of any athletes program.
    You and Trevor are doing a wonderful job with this website. I am glad that I have a small part in it, too. The sound of two wild little boys in the background of your podcast would not be good. It is a joy and privilege to babysit them at my apartment. They take great pride in their ability to run fast. They must be learning from their wonderful Mom & Dad. I love you guys! MOM

  2. Lyndal April 30, 2010 at 10:12 pm #

    I’ve just discovered your podcast and I love it! I’m an Australian mum, heading towards 40 and in week 3 of a 16 week marathon training plan to run my first marathon on August 1st. I love your positivity and your sound advice. I plan to use your podcasts as a motivator in my training plan.
    Keep them coming!

  3. Kelly R. Smith May 7, 2010 at 2:07 pm #

    Hi Angie,
    Wish I would have found your podcast last fall. My son contacted me about running our first marathon together. I ran when I was in High School. At first I thought he was crazy but then I started running. I loved it when I was younger and I still love it. I just read your story and It made me cry because it reminds me of my journey which is not done yet. I am 52 years old and our first marathon is in 3 weeks. Tomorrow is my 20 mile long run. I am nervous and excited at the same time. I ran all winter outside just like you. Shin splints, sore knees, sick 3 times from exhaustion. Again my story isn’t finished. I will contact you again in three weeks to let you know the rest of the story but wanted to say thank you so much for your podcast information and your story. You and your husband sound like super people and great parents. Will talk again in three weeks. Also my wife will be running her first 10k the same weekend so can you ask your mom if she can baby-sit for us too. We have a 7 year old unexpected blessing that miraculously came into our lives 16 years after her older sister. Can’t imagine life without her!!

    Kelly ( the husband )
    Chris ( the wife )
    A lot of people get us mixed up because of our names.

    • Angie May 8, 2010 at 8:00 pm #

      Hope your long run went well Kelly. Let us know how your marathon goes and keep up the great work!

  4. Francis May 8, 2010 at 5:03 pm #

    Hi there! So cool to hear your story, and, wow, it’s so true: the first marathon is just unforgettable! I’m going for my third one in two weeks, and I just found out 2 weeks ago that I have asthma, although never had a big crisis, but found out that my breathing is not the best lately. But what is important is that I won’t give up, and will definitely keep on running!

    • Angie May 8, 2010 at 7:59 pm #

      Good luck with your upcoming marathon. Keep pushing past your limits!

  5. Ryan January 28, 2011 at 9:44 pm #

    After having finished two marathons in my 20s and one in my 30s I’m starting to get the itch again in my (early) 40s. I have done my share of running related reading with books and a couple of subscriptions. These podcasts are serving as a good refresher for material I have read. I have listened to the first 7 episodes and I’m working on getting caught up. I am glad I discovered another tool to get re-motivated to train again. I believe a Runner’s World subscription renewal is in order too.

    • Angie January 31, 2011 at 2:03 pm #

      Hi Ryan. I’m glad that you’re enjoying the podcast. It’s exciting to hear that you’ve caught the marathon “bug” again. Runner’s World Magazine and website has been a great resource to me over the years. Keep up the awesome work!

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