One Year of Running

Posted Tuesday, August 6, 2013

I used to run when I was much younger, but I stopped for 31 years before picking it up again last year.

As of today, I consider myself to have been running for one year; it was on August 6, 2012 that I did my first run/walk interval workout, covering 2.03 miles in 20 minutes. But I didn’t just start running this way.

Technically, I did my first running workout on April 10, 2012; it was a 0.24 mile run in 2 minutes, 19 seconds as part of a 29.5 minute walk (1.70 miles total). That first running attempt was horrible! Following is an excerpt from my Facebook post of April 10, 2013, the first anniversary of this event:

I truly hoped no one was watching during the run segment… I knew my form was horrible: my legs, arms, even my bottom felt like it was moving in every wrong direction. I felt like a clumsy, fat little girl! So what did I do? I ran again the next day, and every day I could tolerate it. Soon I was running twice or more during walks. By August I began doing run/walk intervals, and this only lasted about two weeks until I decided to slow-jog the “walk” intervals on August 22, completing a continuous 3.22-mile run. By now I had already signed up for my first 5k race.


In the past year I have run a total of 1006 miles (665.8 in 2013), biked 163.5 miles and logged 53.1 miles in walking workouts, for a total of 1222.6 miles. My running pace has averaged 9:47/mile for 2013, and 9:52/mile overall; this includes everything from races to the slowest recovery runs. Though normally I run alone, I have gone on several group runs and a few races.

What these figures don’t reveal is the heat, humidity, cold, wind, rain, snow, ice, goose droppings, soreness and injuries I have encountered in my journey as a runner. They also don’t tell you about any of the gorgeous scenery, cool refreshing breezes, friendly people on the trails, or the exhilarating feeling I get from running.


Following are the five races I participated in during the past year; four were organized races and one was a virtual run.

Safe Harbor Run/Walk (Madison, WI) — September 3, 2012, 9 a.m.
Official distance/time/pace: 3.11 miles, 28:52 (9:17/mile)
GPS distance/time/pace: 3.03 miles, 28:49 (9:31/mile)
Description: Hilly street course in the neighborhood around Henry Vilas Zoo.
Placement: 3rd of 3 among males 50–59

Rockport Trail Runs (Janesville, WI) — October 27, 2012, 10 a.m.
Official distance/time/pace: 4 miles, 42:02 (10:30/mile)
GPS distance/time/pace: 3.91 miles, 41:52 (10:42/mile)
Description: Tough race for me: I had to walk 5 times on steep hills. But it was fun.
Placement: 3rd of 4 among males 50–59

World Run Day (Virtual Run, Janesville, WI) — November 11, 2012, 6:45 a.m.
Distance/time/pace: 3.1 miles, 28:07 (9:04/mile)
Description: This was my World Run Day event in memory of Dana Lee Petitt (1986). Broke my 5K PR… this gives me a time to beat next year. Tough run: the wind was a factor, especially near the end.
Placement: It was a solo run, so I guess I placed first.

Parkinson’s Half Marathon (Cottage Grove, WI) — April 20, 2013, 8 a.m.
Official distance/time/pace: 13.11 miles, 1:59:06 (9:05/mile)
GPS distance/time/pace: 12.74 miles, 1:58:55 (9:20/mile). Course was measured using GPS and was actually about 12.77 miles.
Description: Started feeling numbness in both arms at mile 11. Had to walk some of last hill. But I finished in good time! (I later learned that I had been underhydrated; I drank 40 fl. oz. of water in the next 90 minutes and improved quite a bit.)
Placement: 182nd of 358 overall; 98th of 157 among males; 6th of 14 among males 55–59.

Independence Run (Milton, WI) — July 4, 2013, 8:30 a.m.
Official distance/time/pace: 6.21 miles, 54:21? (8:45/mile)
GPS distance/time/pace: 6.16 miles, 54:24 (8:50/mile)
Description: This was my first 10k and also the first race I really did right. Everyone started way too fast; a lot of people passed me in the first 2 miles, but I passed other people for the rest of the race (especially on the uphill portions) and finished strong! Melissa, a coworker at Woodman’s, told me about the race; she ran well and finished only 20 seconds behind me.
Placement: Awards were given for the first five in each age group; I didn’t place, and official results were not available.

What lies ahead

This very evening I plan to run another race: The Run Against Crime 5K, part of National Night Out. The race starts at 7 p.m. at the Janesville Police Department. I also plan to run the Safe Harbor run again (now called the Labor Day Dash) as well as the Rockport Trail Run.

I want to develop more speed as well as more endurance. Hopefully at least one full marathon lies in my future. But for the most part, I just want to run for as many years as I can, and enjoy the journey. Running—just like life itself—is a gift!

Update: Tonight’s Race

Run Against Crime 5K (Janesville, WI) — August 6, 2013, 7 p.m.
Official distance/time/pace: 3.11 miles, 28:03.9 (9:01/mile)
Measured distance/time/pace: 3.13 miles, 28:03.9 (8:58/mile)
Description: The Run Against Crime 5K was a fun run despite the warm, humid weather. I felt pretty good throughout, had enough strength left for a kick at the finish, and some energy to spare. Just like the Independence Run 10K, most everyone started out too fast. No one passed me after mile 1, but I gradually passed quite a few myself.
Placement: 3rd of 7 among males 50–59; more info may follow.