Running, A Love-Hate Relationship

If you've been keeping track, I signed up for the Mid-Mountain Marathon and then proceeded to avoid running for 7 weeks.  Not the best training plan, but I was concentrating on cycling training (or so I told myself).  I finally went out this afternoon to kickoff my running training.  My last run on 11Feb was on packed snow and with several layers, today it was 70F and the trails were dry.  The wacky warm winter continues - until tonight when the snow blows in for April Fool's.  A quiet hour on the trail was enough to evaluate my new shoes, get my legs under me, and set my mind right for a spring and summer of biking and running.  I cycled earlier with Terry so wasn't out to break any records, I just needed to break the cold streak.

Off to the races, thanks to the girls for the lead-out!
My relationship with running is love-hate.  My earliest memories of running were in elementary school and having fun.  My Mom and I ran local 5K races together and I also ran with a group of girls in the Hershey's Meets.  We did pretty well in the relay and ended up at State.  I don't remember running much in Junior High, but I'm sure there were meets or at least some 5K races.  I favored the longer distances (400m +) especially since I couldn't keep up with the shorter girls that had explosive speed.  I don't recall getting excited about races but it was an activity and I was athletic enough, so I ran.
Elementary School Relay Team

High School was another story and a combination of growth spurt and competition gave me reason to move running from the love to hate column.  I ran on the Varsity Track Team (not sure if we even had JV or Frosh team) my first 2 years, again because it was the sport of the season and the rule in our house was you had to work if you weren't playing sports.  I can still picture the long distance coach looking at me and asking if I was sure I didn't want to do high jump or hurdles rather than the 800 and mile.  That might have been a sign, but I ran both events for both years and didn't do too bad. Track practice was interesting and great cross-training for my true love basketball. Track events were fun since you spent lots of time hanging out on the football field with everyone else from school.  I even started doing trail runs that summer and had my first fall which landed me in the ER for 2 layers of stitches in my knee.  I loved going out on the hiking trails behind our house and just running and letting my mind wander and getting a great workout.
High School Track and Field

Towards the end of my sophomore year, my knees started hurting and running was painful.  I wasn't able to do as well in the meets and practice hurt.  When spring sports started the next year, I opted for tennis to avoid the pain from the previous season.  I hadn't really played tennis other than messing around with family and friends, but another basketball player and I became a doubles team and had a great time and did quite well over the next 2 years.  Needless to say, my last 2 yrs in high school, I only ran as part of my other sports and that was fine by me.
2009 Sprint to the Summit - 3rd Place Mtn Lion Category

College was the same, the pre-season runs in the hills behind the gymnasium were painful, cold, and not my favorite.  During the off-season, I ran to keep in shape and really enjoyed trail running during my summer in Idaho as a nanny.  The quiet forest was very peaceful after taking care of 4 children.  Looking back, I continued to associate running with training for other sports and not as it's own sport.  Mentally, I didn't want to admit that I liked running and would do it because I liked it and wanted to improve.

After college, I ran occasionally for a workout and would enter a 5K for fun, but nothing serious.  Even when we moved to Park City, it took a couple years to get the running bug.  My turning point came sometime after my SI joint injury and realizing that if I ran at least 1day/wk, my SI wouldn't hurt.  Mixing up all the cycling with some impact helps settle my hip bones.  I moved from having to run to wanting to run and checking out local trails with my feet rather than my mountain bike became an adventure.  It helps having an ultra-runner neighbor who is supportive and patient and other friends that enjoy running.  I enjoy both the quiet and social sides to a few hours on the trail.

So, for the last several years, I've been trail running and although it is mostly love, there have definitely been some hate moments.  Tripping over a root and tearing my labrum which led to shoulder surgery and months of rehab is high on the hate list.  Pushing myself too far, too fast last summer and ending up with injured knees was also frustrating.  Sometimes I revert to "I'm not a runner" for long periods (7wks), but then after a jaunt in the woods, I'm back in the game and happy with the label of "trail runner".  I'm taking this season slow and don't have competitive goals for the marathon.  A decent finish and a fun 5 months of training with my girlfriends is all I'm gunning for, plus I still want to keep up all my riding and make good use of the winter cycling sessions.