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Cathy’s Ode to Running

A new year is exciting because it can mean a fresh start. It’s a time to step back and evaluate where we are now, and where we want to be;  and a time to set new goals that will help us actually get there. I’m sure for many of us, some of those goals and resolutions will be health and fitness related. Maybe you’ve even decided that this will be the year you’re going to start running.

Unfortunately, putting the goal on paper is the easy part. Actually getting out the door may be another thing altogether. Sometimes, you may just need a little extra motivation to actually get moving. Well, if that’s the case, you’re in luck because I’ve got just the thing to help kick start your new year’s running goals — a new Ode to Running! Today, Cathy from Fiscally Chic has shared her running story, and I think it’s a great one.

Cathy’s Ode To Running

Hi, Health on the Run, I’m Cathy from Fiscally Chic. Generally, I blog about “saving money with style.” I also post recipes, talk about running, and share other things that inspire me. I recently completed my first marathon, so I’d like to thank Lauren for giving me an opportunity to spill the juicy details of my relationship with running.

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Our relationship is best described as the plotline of a romantic comedy. Running and I hated each other at the beginning, but you knew we’d be together by the end of the movie. We hit a few rough patches, but now we’re living happily ever after. It’s all rainbows, butterflies, and sweaty socks :)

Let me take you to the beginning. Some of my first memories of running (beyond backyard) were that running was punishment. I played soccer through 8th grade and running laps was just something to get through. I should have known that running would be in my future since I played midfield and ran up and down the field for the whole game.

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Running soon became cross-training when I began to swim competitively. I swam year-round and for my high school and college teams, focusing on middle distance and distance freestyle. The endurance was obviously there and I could run a couple of miles fairly easily. Once I retired from swimming, I had to find something to fill my time. Why not train for the St. Louis half marathon? Our conference meet was during February and the half was in April. I was clearly in shape, just not running shape.

I signed up for the race since I needed a goal to motivate me to work out. This was 2006. It’s still true at the beginning of 2011. I trained with my boyfriend John (now husband). We ran the entire race together and, as a joke, crossed the finish line holding hands. The time wasn’t too shabby at 2:06, but my right knee felt awful! The IT band completely froze up and I couldn’t bend my knee once I crossed the finish line! I learned the hard way not to run too hard, too fast.

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Of course I had to do it again in 2007. I was determined to improve my time, train smarter, and avoid injury. I trained by myself (in between grad school and studying for the CPA exam) and raced with a pace group. I finished in 1:55 with some pain in the left knee, but nothing major. Was I hooked?

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Not exactly. After that, I had a bit of a falling away from running. I would run a few miles here and there or the 6 mile loop around Forest Park. But without a major race to train for, I had minimal motivation. Then I started working full time. I didn’t have the energy to run after sitting at a desk all day. Of course I got my butt in gear for the wedding in September 2008, but I couldn’t commit to the hours needed to train for another half marathon.

During the fall/winter of 2008, my knees really started to bother me. The left knee would make crunching noises while walking up stairs. The right was more painful. Both would bother me if I had been sitting or driving for too long. I broke down and met with a sports doctor/orthopedic surgeon (Doctor #1). He ordered X-rays and MRIs for both knees. He was adamant that I needed surgery, but wasn’t sure if it would completely fix me. Or if I would be able to run again. I asked if I could try PT, but he still pushed surgery. I talked it over with John, my Dad (who used to run and had knee surgery), John’s Dad (a doctor), and a friend (an occupational therapist). Obviously I cried about it.

I told Doctor #1 I wouldn’t go under the knife and took my X-rays and MRIs. I didn’t do anything for a while since I wasn’t even sure what to do. In the spring of 2009, I finally asked for a second opinion based on a recommendation from my OT friend. I flat out told Doctor #2 that I wanted to be able to run again and wanted to try PT first. And burst into tears at the thought of surgery. Who knew I cared about running so much? Doctor #2 handed me some tissues and promptly prescribed PT. Best. Thing. EVER!

A few months of PT later (and a new found friendship with a foam roller), I was able to run a few pain-free miles. And since you know I need a goal, I signed up for a Halloween 10K. Dressed as a hot dog, I ran the 10K! Not my fastest pace ever, but I had fun! And I was running again!

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In December 2009, I moved to Chicago, started a new job, and met some new friends through running. A new work friend (with multiple BQ’s) convinced me to register for the Chicago marathon. Two half marathons later and I had my big marathon debut on 10.10.10! It was definitely a rough 26.2 miles thanks to the unseasonably warm October weather. I finished in 4:45:42.

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Yes, I’ll probably do another one. I love a good challenge and want to improve my time. Plus, I enjoyed running through the different neighborhoods with 1+ million people cheering us on. My family took the L around the city while John rode his bike around the race course. While wearing matching pink shirts :)

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Where are running and I now? It’s freezing in Chicago and I’m not as hardcore as Lauren. I still go for the occasional run (sometimes up to 8 miles) and did a 5 mile turkey trot over Thanksgiving. And I’ve signed up for the 2011 St. Louis half marathon. It’s a bit too soon to start training for that, so I’ve been doing a little spinning, weights, and other cross training activities. But don’t you worry, running and I will be best buds again in 2011.

Thank you Cathy!! If you want to read more about Cathy and her tips to save money with style (as well as her adventures in running), visit her blog Fiscally Chic.

As always, if you’re interested in sharing your own Ode to Running, just send me an email at lauren [at] healthontherun [dot] net. And you don’t have to be a blogger to participate.

12 Responses to Cathy’s Ode to Running

  1. Yay a new blog to read!
    Aron´s last post ..Back to reality

  2. Thanks for letting me share my Ode! I’m so happy I found your blog :)

  3. Way to go, Cathy! What’s your next marathon? :)

  4. Great story, Cathy! You had me at the cupcake…I will run for cupcakes, too! Running is such a funny sport because you really can have a love/hate relationship with it. And we always return to it. Congrats on all of your accomplishments! I’m excited to have a new blog to read :)
    Becky´s last post ..The More the Merrier

  5. I LOVE Ode to Running! Such a great idea for a series. Congrats on your races Cathy – and the romantic comedy plot line is SO true for me too!
    Erin @ Big Girl Feats´s last post ..First Feat

  6. I LOVE the Go Cathy Go shirts! It’s always great to hear a no-surgery-knee-success story…especially b/c I’m going through that right now! So glad you’re up and running again! :)

  7. Cathy, great story. I am so glad you decided to share it. I love Chicago and hope to run the Chicago Marathon next year as a birthday present to myself as it is one of those big milestone years. Can’t wait to read more on your blog.
    Bekah @ runtrackmind´s last post ..Pencil Into The Calendar

  8. Haha! I love that it’s like a romantic comedy! So great and probably true for many of us!
    Rach´s last post ..The Love Dare

  9. Awesome story! And I really love that all your supporters showed up in t-shirts to cheer you on. Very nice!

  10. I love your story, Cathy! It’s a great one. So cool that even though you and running had a rocky relationship in the beginning, you knew you’d be together in the end :)

    I had a Dr. tell me I needed surgery on my knee too. A second opinion and months of PT and chiropractic later, I could run pain-free. So glad you didn’t get the surgery either!
    Jen´s last post ..The waiting game

  11. awesome! thanks lauren! running on 10/10/10 would have been miserable in chicago…it was wicked hot!
    the dawn´s last post ..warm legs- cold hands- and a winter track session

  12. Running is something I wanted to do but I can’t or maybe I am just too lazy to try it. I was recently diagnosed that I do have herniated disc (left) and every time I stand nor walk more than 30 minutes continuously, my back aches. So I am not so sure if its okay for me to run.
    Elizabeth Garcia´s last post ..Get Organized with File Boxes

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