The Gift of Running

Today is my birthday. I am thirty-eight.. I am thankful to reach this age because there was a time that I didn’t think I would reach it due to my poor health. As part of The San Francisco Marathon Ambassador Team, the post below was published on their blog.

I get asked many times why do I subject myself to running. Isn’t it painful? Don’t you get bored running so long on the weekend? My short answers: yes, it is sometimes painful and no, I don’t get bored on long runs.

In all seriousness, here is my story. In my twenties, I caught the running bug. I completed various 5ks and 10ks races. My doctor told me that it was too risky to keep running due to my weight and high blood pressure. Heartbroken, I stopped and became a couch potato who developed diseases like diabetes and high cholesterol.  It was a low point in my life and my health paid a price for my inactivity.

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Three months into my weight loss journey in 2011, I sought out running to beat boredom of the treadmill. I drove to a local path in San Mateo, CA and started to jog. I was huffing and puffing after a couple of minutes and would walk a little.  Then I would run again. The next thing I knew, I ran two miles. Honestly, it hurt.  My legs ached and lungs were burning, but I will never forget the feeling of pure joy while running. I felt alive and excited to tackle something so simple. Something I wasn’t feeling much of at that point.

Two and a half years later, I still feel joy and excitement whenever I lace up my shoes and walk out the door. Besides joy and excitement, running fuels my sense of adventure, strengthens me in times of trial and comforts me in times of sadness. How could you not possibly fall in love with it? I was given a second chance and never take it for granted. As cliché as it sounds, running is truly a gift. When I lack motivation, I remind myself what it was like to not be able to run. This reason alone, snaps me into the present and I am back out on the roads in my happy place.

So bring on the training miles, hills and fog. I will be the one out there soaking it all up because I don’t want to miss out on a magical gift.

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Who do you run for?

Who do you run for? Is it for someone or yourself?  For me, it’s for a group of people who I call my race crew. Obese or healthy, these people have been with me through thick and thin (no pun intended)..

I am very lucky to have what I call a race crew. Kind of like an entourage, but better.   I am grateful for all their encouragement and support. They provide me with the fire to be my best. They cheer me up when training is not going so well. They make me laugh when I am injured. They travel far distances just to see cheer me on at the finish line.  They make signs, ring cow bells and show up at races with no questions asked.  These people are my heart and world. I would do anything for them.  My crew sends me texts messages to wish me good luck on a race or prepares my favorite post-race meal as a celebration of finishing. It’s the little thing that matter to me.

I don’t think my crew knows how much they inspire me to keep reaching for my goals and moving forward.  I think of  all of them when I am out running. I dedicate my miles to them because without them, I wouldn’t be the person I am.  So to my race crew, thank you for being a part of my life. This run is for you..

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Who do you run for?

Want to run The San Francisco Marathon? Use discount code DSC10TSFM2014A82 to save $10 on any of the races!

 

Taking it to the track

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One of my running goals for this year is to get faster.  The only dilemma I have is that SF Road Runners schedule track workouts on Tuesdays and I can’t attend due to my schedule.  So what better way than to crash the track party with Run 365 , the official training program of The San Francisco Marathon   at Kezar Stadium last Wednesday.  With anything running related, I always get nervous because of my inexperience and my turtle pace. I also knew if I want to improve then I have to put in the work.  My only goal was not to puke or die during the workout.

It was rainy too but nothing stopped me from joining in.The workout consisted of a two lap warm up on the outside part  of Kezar. I kept a pretty good pace with the warm up. I pushed myself to keep in the middle of the pack. I did take one small walk break towards the end. After the warm up came the static stretching drills lined up in rows of three.  The group finally made it onto the track to do skipping and butt kick drills on the 100 meter straightway of the track four times each way.   The final part of the workout was a timed mile. Four laps around the 400 meter circle.  This is what I was afraid of.  So off I went pushing myself and as the track coach shouted times, I just kept going. Not caring if I finished last.  It hurt. My lungs were burning and breathing was a little hard but I didn’t die. The pace was just about the same I keep .  I could do so much better. I have my work cut out for me but I know I can handle it.

Do you make time for track workouts?

What are your favorite drills?

Want to run The San Francisco Marathon? Use discount code DSC10TSFM2014A82 to save $10 on any of the races!