One Year Ago.

One year ago today I decided to train for a half marathon. One year ago I hated running… HATED it. One year ago I figured I should face my fear of running and challenge myself. One year ago I stepped foot on the treadmill and could barely push the speed button past 6.0 mph (10:00 min/mile). One year ago, I never thought I would become a running addict… and LOVE every second of it.

In May of 2010 I ran my first half marathon. I know what you are thinking… “but Kris you just said you only started running a year ago?” It’s true, I did. I didn’t train for the 2010 BMO Vancouver Half Marathon and it was a painful experience! I had walked marathons and even ultramarathons with my mom previously and decided to sign up for a half marathon. My “training” consisted of exactly two 23 minute “jogs” around my neighbourhood but I figured ‘How hard could it be?’ Oh dear.

I am a natural athlete, with an athlete’s body, so I knew I could reach the finish line no matter what, but it was definitely a challenging experience and my time reflected it. I ran the race in 2:04:52 and felt every part of my body screaming at me the entire way. I believe anyone can do a half marathon… how fast and how you feel throughout the experience (and after) is where the whole “training” thing comes in. It wasn’t a bad pace (9:31 min/mile), I was sore, chaffed, and tired, but I was really proud of my accomplishment. Obviously I hadn’t fallen in love with the whole running thing because it took until last October to be convinced I should run another half marathon. 

I decided to being training October 1, 2012 for the 2013 Hypothermic Half Marathon in Calgary, AB. Why train throughout the entire winter? Why convince yourself that running in sub zero temperatures would be fun? Why decide to run a half marathon when it could be snowing throughout the race? Why pick an event in the middle of February in Alberta? I will never really know how I came up with this idea… but I don’t regret it one bit!

I trained hard for the Hypothermic Half Marathon. I followed this schedule to a tee and I felt really good heading into the race. My goal was to run it sub-2. I had done the BMO Vancouver event in 2:04:52 and was determined to slice five minutes off of my time. 

I ran it in 1:37:36. 

Apparently training works.

I was thrilled with my time, but more importantly I had made my peace with the sport of running, and fallen head over heels in love with it. A couple months later I signed up for the 2013 Edmonton Derby Half Marathon. I followed the same training schedule because it had worked so well for me in the winter. I had hoped for a PR but ran the race in 1:37:44. Those darn 8 seconds. I was still extremely happy with the event and even happier with how good running makes me feel.

I like the distance of a half marathon. It is not as terrifying as a full marathon, but challenging enough that it still scares me a little to run 13.1 miles, whether it’s a race, or a random Wednesday morning run. I decided to sign up for one more race before winter strikes the prairies, so I registered for the St. Albert Fall Challenge Half Marathon.

I had no intention of “racing” the event but once I pinned that race bib to my chest there was no stopping me. I ran the half marathon in 1:37:55. Loved. every. second.

It amazes me that one year ago I hated running and wanted to cry at the sight of a dreadmill. Today I will gladly lace up my running shoes and zone out to episodes of The Big Bang Theory on the treadmill, or hit the streets in the early morning to get some miles in, or drown my stresses with the sound of my feet hitting the riverside trails. I love races and how nerve-racked, excited, and proud they make me. This summer I ran 13.1 miles with an average pace of 7:24 min/mile… this from a girl who thought a 9:00 minute mile was impossible. 

Who would have guessed it… Kris Murray turned into a runner. Oh, and apparently a runner that wears onesies. What a difference a year can make. Who knows where another year will take me… hopefully by this time next year I can say I faced my fear of running 26.2 miles and accomplished a marathon!