I was now officially a Couch to 5K graduate. Not only that, I was officially hooked on running, and racing! I immediately looked for my next race, and found one in February! This was a much bigger race, with thousands of runners, and it was a bit unnerving - but I did it, and you'll find the picture of me crossing the finish line at the top of this blog! :)
I found myself needing the comfort of a plan to move me to the next level. At the library, I found a book called The Complete Book of Women's Running. It was a good book, and easy enough to read, though it was hard to relate to stories of women running a "slow time of 8 minute miles" when I was struggling around 12 minute miles!
I began the intermediate running plan, which would take me from running 3 days a week of 30 minutes, to running 4 days per week with one of those days being a longer run building up to an hour. The structure was welcomed by me, and I followed the first part of the plan through the summer of 2009. I also purchased a new set of running shoes for my birthday! Again I went to Dick's Sporting Goods, but this time I spent $70! I also did two more 5Ks: one in March (where it poured rain the entire time and the course was the nastiest hills I'd ever seen!) and one in April (where I ran my PR - personal record).
Before long, it was summer. Summer running. Ugh. Did I mention before that I live in Georgia? LOL Summer running was no fun at ALL. I ended up getting up in the mornings before sunrise and doing my weekday runs in the neighborhood, and my long runs at a nearby park. I vowed to myself each day that I would never again complain about running in the cold weather. At least in the cold, you can add layers. In the heat, it's just hot. And you know it's hot when you are soaked in sweat while walking to the trail to START your run!
I made it halfway through the intermediate training and was running up to an hour which worked out to be a little over 5 miles at my pace! I will never forget the first time I ran 5 miles! It seemed like I had done something completely impossible, and yet, I had actually really done it!
It was during the summer that Jan and I had committed to the Princess Half Marathon in 2010 and I started saving up money for it! My husband and I had begun Dave Ramsey's Total Money Makeover in early 2008, so we had a strict budget to adhere to. I was going to have to really scrimp to raise enough money for this trip - but it was a goal I was fixed upon!
I had decided to run a 10K race in the fall (once the bulk of the heat would be gone!) - not only to have a new goal, but also to get an official "time" for corral placement in the Princess. It was harder to find a 10K, but Jan found one about 45 minutes away, and even better, it was called the "Fast Pace Race", promising an overall elevation decrease! :) During the fall, I also took on another goal - taking my children through the Couch to 5K program as part of our "PE" for homeschooling, and then having them participate in the Jingle Jog for Autism, the same race I did in 2008 as my first race.
So the fall of 2009 was incredibly full of running! I did two 5Ks and a 10K in October - and managed to bring along my BFF. She had started running in February 2009, and just like me, it was the first time she had ever run before. She did the 5K at the race where I did my first 10K, and she took a picture of me crossing the finish line at my first 10K!
In addition, I was training with the kids, which didn't turn out at all like I had imagined it. Reece had to ride her bike because she couldn't keep up with us. Riley argued and complained the entire time. And Austin didn't like anyone running near him or talking to him when he ran. It was kind of nuts! And to top it all off... my husband had also started the Couch to 5K program, too! It was absolutely contagious!
The Jingle Jog ended up being a huge success! My husband and Austin ran together, and Riley and I ran together. My mom came from out of state to hang out with Reece, and to take pictures! The guys ran faster than I have ever run before, and Riley won a 3rd place medal for her age group! And that was in weather that made the previous year's Jingle Jog for Autism seem like it had taken place during a heat wave!! It was in the low to mid 30s, with a raging wind, and off and on drizzle!
Surprisingly, the first words out of Riley's mouth were, "When can we do another race?!" Yeah, my complainer - the one who had never even made it 3 miles during all the weeks of training - found her drive in the competition of the race! She definitely takes after her dad's side of the family who are all competitive athletes, including my 72 year old mother-in-law!
Unfortunately, I was now 12 weeks out from the Princess, and 2 weeks into my training program, so it was time to focus on me and my own training. And that will be the topic of the next post, and the rest of the posts to come! :)