I Got by With a Little Help from my Friends
Once I was really into the idea of running and started having some success at speed and cutting time, I was more than happy to talk to anyone about running. There were two conversations in 2013 that really changed things for me – one with the principal at my school and the other was with a total stranger.
My principal, at the time, is a marathon runner. I started talking to him about wanting to improve my time. He said he had some books at home and he would bring me the one he felt was the easiest one to read. This book completely changed my way of training for runs, and I recommend it to everyone now. The name of the book is Run Faster; From 5K to the Marathon, by Brad Hudson and Matt Fitzgerald. Aside from getting great tips on running, avoiding injury and reading about some of the best runners out there it has training plans that guide you day by day.
I followed the plan for the 5K religiously everyday to see if the plan would work or not. So like P90X, it was hard but I worked through it. The next time I ran a 5K, I was down to just over 26 minutes – just three minutes short of placing in my age group. In September, 2013, just one year after I started running and six months of following the plans in this book, I set a personal best of 23 min 15 seconds which was ten minutes better than my first race.
In January 2013, I decided that I had was making good progress and needed to challenge myself even further, so I set a new goal – to run my first half marathon. So I followed the book’s plan again, religiously everyday. There were many nights I closed down the YMCA and running in the cold, Wisconsin winter weather to get ready for it. In April 2013, with just eight months of running under my belt, I was ready to run my first half marathon – the South Shore Half Marathon organized by the Badgerland Striders.
This brings me to the second most important conversation. While after a long training session last winter, I went to the hot tub at the YMCA to relax, and started to talk with to a lady who told me about this group called the TrY Ozaukee Multisport Club. I was intrigued, so I went to the introductory meeting for new members and listened to the everybody talk about their successes and watched the video they shared about their accomplishments.
At the meeting, the biggest impact on me was how much fun everyone was having at the meeting, and how much fun it looked like they were having at the events. Never before have I been surrounded by such positive people who are nothing but encouraging. This was all the motivation and encouragement I needed, as I had once thought that a triathlon would be fun, but at 240 pounds I never dreamed would be possible.
Once I joined the group, I was hooked so next on my list to accomplish was not only my first half but also, my first triathlon. I knew at this point my family was behind me in my quest and I had all the support in the world to keep going!