July 2016-Started Running

There are a few reasons why I started running. The main reason: I always thought of myself as being someone who couldn’t just go out and run a few miles here or there. I always liked the idea of being able to run….to just go out and have me time. To have freedom to go and burn calories without having to use a dvd, a gym, or whatever else. But for me, it felt “impossible”. Impossible? Say what? I remember thinking to myself… F THAT! I’m tired of saying I can’t. I’m tired of not doing what I want to do. I had spent 29 years putting restrictions on my own life. So….I set out to “do my impossible”. When I came to this conclusion in July of ’16, I was 29. In December, I would turn the dreaded 3-0. But instead of feeling that fear or dread, I decided to make 30 my year. I committed to myself that, while I’m 30, I will complete a half marathon. But how does one go from being a 244lb  couch potato to a half marathoner?? I had no clue, all I knew was that I would start and see how my journey went.

My first official race was only a week or 2 later. I wanted to see what my “starting point” was, and I’m glad I did! I signed up and ultimately ran the River City Ministry 5k on July 23rd, 2016. That morning, I didn’t have any expectations on how it should go. I just knew I wanted to give it my all. Tommy on the other hand, gave me encouragement saying he knew I could complete it in 40 minutes. I thought that time sounded like much faster than I could do, but I assured him I would do my best and hopefully I could finish by the 40 minute mark.

As most runners do, the “gun” went off….and I went out waaayyyy too fast. Pacing was non-existent in my world at that time. Within 2-3 minutes tops, I had to walk. I ran/walked the 5k the best I could. I remember specifically thinking MANY times, ‘When is this going to be over’ and ‘What the hell have I gotten myself into?!?!’. As I got closer and closer to the finish line, I could see the time ticking away. Sadly, I didn’t make it across the finish line under 40 minutes.

I did however, finish in 40:14 seconds! With an average pace of 12:59/mile (I forgot to stop my Fitbit for another 1-2 minutes). I was so damn proud of that time. It was much faster than I thought I could do at the time, which taught me…I needed to have more faith in myself! After this race, I knew I could do anything I set my mind to. I could do anything as long as I was willing to put in the work!

I ran another “5k” in September 2016…but the course was super short(2.71 miles if I remember correctly). So I won’t go into detail about that race.

February 4th 2017, I ran the Freezin For a Reason 5k. It was a wonderfully COLD morning and I was very excited to see how much “official” progress I had made since my first 5k. When the race began, I paced myself with a girl who was running a 10 minute mile pace. I stuck with her as long as I could.

In 7 short months, I was able to shave 8 minutes and 20 seconds off my 5k time! This race my time came down to a 10:17 pace! It was a great feeling to be able to transform so much as a runner, in such a short time. Going from run(30 seconds)/walk(a couple minutes) at that first race, to being about to run 95% of this race. The only time I walked was at 2 water stations, where I drank and walked for maybe 20 seconds at each.

During Jan/Feb I spent a significant amount of time being sick, so my running did suffer during those months. But I wouldn’t let it stop me. I ran when I could and rested when I felt I needed to.

On March 4th, a month after Freezin for a Reason, I ran my first 10k! I was sooooo nervous, Just the weekend before, was the first time I had ever run 6.2 miles. I knew I could complete the race, but I wasn’t sure what to expect time wise. My “ultimate goal time” was 1 hour and 10 minutes. My “B goal time” was 1 hour 15 minutes. I feel it is important to have a “B” time in case fatigue, or hills, or whatever happens, there is still a reason to push if your ultimate goal time is no longer reachable! The Little Rock Marathon 10k was no joke! It was quite hilly. And those hills definitely slowed me down. BUT! I had a goal in mind, so the last 1.2 miles I reallllllyyyy push myself and….

I BEAT MY ULTIMATE GOAL TIME BY 55 SECONDS! As you see…the last mile was by far the fastest…and the last .22–was at a 9:14 pace! This race confirmed what I knew to be true back in July…I could do ANYTHING if I worked hard enough for it!

As of today, I have a 10 mile race this Saturday. But unfortunately….It appears like it might get cancelled due to some expected severe weather. I’m keeping my fingers crossed that we will be able to do the race, only time will tell.

Regardless if the race happens or not, I’ll keep running and pushing to better myself! Happy running friends!

~Alyssa Marie

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