Sunday, May 17, 2009

Ready Ready Ready, Ready to Run

Me as a smoker in the spring of 2006. I might have had a few in this picture.

I quit smoking in October of 2007. I took Chantix to quit (find out more about Chantix here), and I took it for a month and a half. After I quit taking it, I got hungry. Hungrier than I had been since I started smoking in 2003. So I ate a lot.

I gained a few pounds, but I'm petite, and it really shows on me. So I had to do something about it. I started running while Ryan and I were just friends (I actually quit smoking just 2 weeks before I met him. Weird, huh?), and I didn't have a clue what I was doing. I was running 1 or 2 miles a few times a week. By May 2008, when Ryan and I had been dating for just a month and a half, I asked for his expertise. He's coached high school distance running for years, and he's helped coach collegiately for a year now, so he really knows his stuff. He got me started on a running program and patiently built up my mileage.

I didn't make these lifestyle changes because of Ryan, I was in the process of making them when I met him. He's been a big help and support.
Now it's less than 2 years after quitting smoking, and I've got a couple 5k's and 2 half marathons under my belt. My mom, who smoked for years, quit about a month after I did, and now we run together!

I'm pondering where to go from here, running-wise. Being in Boston and watching the marathon really got me wanting to run a marathon. My little sister, Mary, who runs for her high school team, said she would train for and run a qualifying marathon and then Boston with me. This would be ideal, except that it will be a while. She's only 16, so we would have to wait to start training until she graduated from high school. She's considering running at the collegiate level (she's really talented), so if she does that, then we'll have to wait until she's done with college. By then, I will hopefully be popping out children. I'm pretty sure they recommend not marathoning when knocked up.

So I kind of want to start training for a marathon now. There are a few things holding me back. One, I don't think I want to do it unless someone else is doing it with me. That might sound silly, but 19 miles is a long time to be by yourself on the road for long runs. Training for those half marathons on my own was really tough, and I am not sure if I could motivate myself without a training partner. Also, if Ryan gets a coaching job in who knows where, will there be a marathon close by? We'll be saving for the wedding, so I doubt we'll want to spend money to travel to a race.

As of right now, I'm thinking a half marathon in the fall is a good goal, and then I'll go from there. Ryan said half marathons are much more common than full marathons, so no matter where we move, we should be able to find one close by. I want to run the half marathon and the full in about 8:30 minute miles, as I'm looking to qualify for Boston, so we'll see. I did my 8 mile long run on Sunday in 8:34's, so I have a solid fitness foundation to go from.

I think I am not fair with myself. I need to be happy with the progress I have made, and much more realistic about what I can achieve. It's hard because the only running times I hear about are Ryan's athlete's (and they are Division I college athletes) times, and my All State runner sister Mary (she got 22nd in the state for the 5k last fall), so I don't think I am being realistic with myself.

I never would have imagined 2 years ago, as a smoker, that I would be where I am now. I feel so much stronger, and better all around.

What are you training for, and how far have you come? Any other ex-smokers out there?

Ryan and I on the finish line at the Boston Marathon

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