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Running milestones and achievements.
There are so many milestones achieved throughout a lifetime, like your graduation, your first car purchase, landing your first job and getting your promotion.There’s also lifestyle successes, like losing weight, eating healthier, and starting to run.I don’t think we really appreciate landmark events like these when they happen. I know I didn’t.
I was able to lose 85 pounds and started running twenty three years ago.At that time, I still felt I was fat, and I didn’t think I had the right to call myself a runner.My milestone event was when I finally ran a mile.The whole mile.All at once.Without stopping.I started out a walker, a very slow walker.I moved sloth-like around the block near my home.According to the car odometer, it was close to a mile.Every other day, I put on my tennis shoes, shorts with the elastic waist and the oversized t-shirt that I thought was hiding my fat.I walked after dark so nobody would see my attempt at exercise.After a couple of weeks, I decided I was ready to run.I walked to my usual starting point and then picked up my pace from sloth to snail.I felt like I was running like Joan Benoit Samuelson.“Well,” I thought, “This isn’t too bad.Maybe I can run after all.”I was really getting into the run, about 15 steps or so, when I couldn’t breathe. I started to gasp for air and just knew I was going to die.
So I walked back home dejected and defeated.The next time I went for my “run”, I thought I shouldn’t try to run all the way around the block.Maybe I should try to “run” from telephone pole to telephone pole, walk, and then run again from one pole to the next.I did that for awhile and tried to increase the running distance each time.It took some time, but I finally ran the whole way around that mile block.I ran home at the speed of melting ice in January, burst open the door to my home and screamed “I did it!”I was so proud.I just won my own personal Olympics.
I still didn’t think of myself as a runner.Runners were skinny people with no body fat.They were fast.They ran races, did speed workouts, tempo runs, and fartleks.“What is a fartlek?”I giggled to myself.“Is that the noise you sometimes hear from other runners?”“No,” said my search engine.Fartlek is a Swedish term meaning a training method that blends continuous training with interval training.Oh great, now I have to learn what an interval is.
More milestones were attained when I learned running terms. Not only did I learn terms like fartlek and interval, I also learned how to put those terms into practice.I learned what speed workouts were for and how to do them.I learned about the purpose of tempo runs, and the importance of long slow distance days for an endurance race. I finally learned you don’t have to be skinny and fast to be a runner.I realize now, that after that landmark mile, I became a runner.
You’d think that after 25 marathons and 23 years of running I wouldn’t have any more milestones to reach.You’d be wrong.I am still learning the joys of running.I always have a PR (Personal Record) or a new goal to strive for.I’ve learned that there will always be another breakthrough.If you’re a beginner, keep trying.If you’ve run forever like I have, don’t quit just because you think there’s nothing more to run for.Your next milestone may be just around the corner.