Getting started and re-started

It has been a couple of years now since I’ve been very active in running. In the spring of 2013 I ran my first half marathon, in the spring of 2014 I ran my second half marathon, that autumn I ran a 5K race, but since then I’ve just been going for a run or two a month when I feel inspired (and realise that I haven’t run for about a month) to keep my streak alive of running at least once per month since January of 2013.

It all started shortly after suffering an ACL tear (and not realising it at the time) while playing rec-league soccer in the summer of 2010. I did some physiotherapy, got the go ahead to play again, and within minutes I was down and out again. An MRI in the spring of 2011 showed a full tear and surgery would be needed. In September 2011 I had the surgery and began rehab starting with re-teaching myself how to walk. A major area of focus was my hamstring which was harvested to recreate the knee ligament. By November I was off of crutches, by February 2012 I was doing controlled jogs on a treadmill during physio, and by April I was allowed to run on level paths (no grass or gravel) in straight lines (no cutting or sharp turns). I knew that soccer was out of the question for the following season, so I just started running regularly.

In May of 2012 I downloaded the Nike Running app and started tracking my runs. I did 3K pretty easily, so my next run I tried 4K, then 5K. Since that came so easily to me, I decided to challenge myself to a 10K. My 4th run left me quite winded, but I managed the 10K in under 55 minutes with just one stop. That’s when I decided that I wanted to do a half marathon.

In January 2013 I recruited two of my brothers and we decided that we would all do the GoodLife Toronto Marathon half marathon the following spring. I started with my 10K benchmark that I had worked up to more comfortably and would run 2-4 short runs (3-5K) through the week and then a long run on the weekend adding one kilometre each week. Eventually my short runs were 6-10km and I reached a 20K run with two weeks to spare before my half marathon. Unfortunately by this time my two brothers had injured themselves and had to pull out of the race.

When I started training my goal was to be able to run the half marathon without stopping or walking. As I got into it, I set my goal at 2.5 hours. By the time I did my 20K run in just under 1:46:00, my goal was to finish in less than 1:50:00. I’m proud to say that I reached that goal finishing my half marathon in 1:49:18. My running slowed down a bit over the summer, but by the end of the year I had managed to run 1001km in 2013! I did my last 10K on new years eve while I was sick, but I was determined to get over the 1000km mark. Another goal accomplished.

That winter I decided to sign up for my next half marathon, though I would skip the travelling and just do it here in London. I signed up for the 2014 Forest City Road Races half marathon with some new goals. My goal for the next half marathon was to beat my previous time and do the half marathon in less than 1:45:00. I did manage to beat my previous time, but didn’t shave enough off finishing at 1:47:43. I wasn’t nearly as prepared for this race and by the end I felt much more defeated than I did the first time. I then went back to shorter runs and focused on the soccer season.

That autumn I ran a charity race in Sarnia for the Bluewater Health Foundation and competed in the 5K just under two weeks after pulling my hamstring in a soccer tournament. I wasn’t able to train much in the weeks before, but still managed to place 3rd overall with a time of 22:40 (It was a small field). A brutal winter followed which slowed me down and I lost the drive to run.

Just under two years later I was noticing that weight was coming back that I had enjoyed losing while running, so I decided to get out again. With a slower pace and less stamina, I was able to work back up to a 10K run with a decent pace (of around 5mins/km) in just under 3 weeks. I’ve decided once again to dive right in and have started looking at full marathons. I found one for September here in London, but with that being less than a month away it’s not going to happen for me this year. I will focus on getting comfortable with runs between 15-20km through the autumn and winter, start picking up the distance again in the spring and summer, and be ready for the marathon in September 2017. I was even able to recruit a friend/co-worker who will train and run the race with me. We’ll do our own running/training through the week, then once a week on weekends we’ll do our long runs together alternating neighbourhoods.

Essentially I wanted to start this blog to keep track of how the year goes, but hopefully it can motivate some other people along the way. Enjoy!

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