5 Years Of Running

I started running five years ago today. It was my first time running since a PE class in college, so it had been about 18 and a half years since the last time I ran. It did not go well. I managed to make it 2.03 miles in 29:26, for an average pace of 14:30/mile. When I was done, I felt like I was either going to throw up, faint, or die. I managed to avoid any of those fates. The next day, my arms and neck were OK, but every other muscle in my body was on fire. I eventually recovered, and I’m still running.

I’ve had many ups and downs during these five years. Today’s run falls in the down category.

I celebrated my anniversary of running by going out for a 10 mile run. It was 75 degrees and humid, and I haven’t run 10 miles since March. What could possibly go wrong?

You might be having a bad run when you get passed by a mother pushing a double stroller. (Don’t get me wrong, I’m really impressed by her, but I’d like to be able to run faster than someone pushing extra weight like that.)

Somehow, I made it to the end, and while getting there may have been rough, it was a pretty significant milestone for me. Back in March, the last time I ran over 10 miles, it was in the Tobacco Road Half Marathon. I had been having some off and on problems with my left ankle in the weeks leading up to the race. Well, at around the 9.5 mile mark of the race, my left ankle blew up. I did manage to finish the race, but it wasn’t pretty.

I went to an ankle specialist, and he determined that I have short Achilles tendons. This was putting extra pressure on pretty much everything in my lower legs. It was just a matter of time before something had to give, and my left ankle was the first thing to give out. Luckily for me, it’s treatable with some custom orthotics, which I’ve been wearing for a little over a month.

My mileage was severely limited during this time. I went almost 3 weeks with no running, and when I started back up, I had to limit my mileage to only 3-4 miles per run, with no runs on back-to-back days. Eventually, I was able to work my way back up to 5 days of running per week, slowly increasing my long runs. Other than a day or two right after I got my orthotics when I was still getting used to them, I had no ankle pain.

This was my first run where I planned to go farther than 9.5 miles. (You know, the mileage where my ankle blew up during Tobacco Road.) I (barely) made it to 10 miles. It was hot, it was humid, I was slow, my legs had no energy left near the end, but I had zero ankle pain. Progress.

Since this is my first post (By the way, welcome!), I guess I should explain the name of the site and the picture above. One time I went out for a run and somewhere along the way, I lost my car key. (I’ll post the full story later in the week.) Since then, every time I get to the end of a race, I take a picture with my car key to prove that I didn’t lose it. The four races in the picture are my PRs (Personal Records) at the four most common race distances, 5K, 10K, Half Marathon, and Marathon. The races are the 2015 Yiassou Greek Festival 5K in Charlotte, the 2014 Joe Davis Memorial Resolution Run 10K in Fort Mill, SC, the 2016 Charleston Half Marathon, and the 2015 Raleigh City of Oaks Marathon (my only marathon so far).

Finally, I have to give a shout out to Mike Kahn. His enthusiasm for running is what got me started five years ago. In spite of runs like today, I really do love running, and I never would have found that out without Mike, and I can’t thank him enough.