Inspiration

Don’t stop dreaming just because you think you have to. 

I started running long distance five years ago.  My cardio was next to nothing and my asthma affected me daily.   Once I made the decision to run, I dove head first into distance running in minimalist shoes.  I bought a pair of Vibram Five Fingers and made my calves burn.  I added miles cautiously each week and after a few months, my body adapted to the new toe shoes.  

Running became my stress relief, my escape, my extra cup of morning coffee. (Ironically, two cups of coffee can help stop an asthma attack.). I have severe allergic/airborne asthma, same as Galen Rupp.  I quickly discovered that running helped open up my lungs, and after a run, breathing felt so much easier.  I began to have more energy throughout the day.  The better shape I was in, the better I could breath (for the most part).  Running quickly became a part of my daily routine. 

My only training plan was to run more.  I ran by myself either on the treadmill listening to music or from my house to no where in particular.  I had no training partner.  No coach.  

After a few months of running consistantly, I decided that I wanted to run a half marathon.  I built up my miles over the summer and ran the 2012 Allstate 13.1 in Vibram Five Finger minimalist shoes.  My finish time?  1:56:08.   

The day after the race, I saw Dawn Grunnagle’s picture in the Dallas Morning News.  She was the Overall Female Winner with a time of 1:17:10.  I didn’t understand.  With a winning time of WHAT?  I had no idea that was even possible.  Her time on top of the fact that she took several years off of running after college to focus on her career and the fact that she was 34 blew me away.  A winning time of WHAT?  

Before that moment, I believed that my shot at having a running career had died, because I didn’t run in high school or college and because I thought I was no longer at an age to consider running at an elite or professional level.  Before that moment, I had quit on my dream, because I thought I had too.  

Realizing I was wrong changed everything.  

2012-2016 Half Marathon Times 

2012 Allstate 13.1 – 1:56:08

2013 Allstate 13.1 – 1:46:17

2014 Michelob Ultra 13.1 – 1:33:29

2015 Dallas Half Marathon – 1:29:56

2016 Cowtown Half Marathon – 1:29:17

2017-  Still on my way!

Thank you, Dawn, for inspiring me!

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23 Comments

  1. This is so freakin’ awesome girl, and inspiring!! I will say that about 5 months ago, I finally got in a half under 2 hours (1:57 something) and it was really a challenge for me. I never felt like I was relaxed in the race, I definitely felt like I had to push the whole time. After that I thought, “well that’s great that I made that goal, but I’m not getting any faster, that was so hard!”
    Now marathon training and people like you have completely blown my mind and that old way of thinking! I know I can get faster–I don’t know how fast, but mixing up my workouts every week and doing intervals and tempo runs and speed work has been such a blast and such a thrill to really see myself improving. Now my attitude is just to take one day at a time and not limit myself or my dreams. Who knows what we can do right!? Can’t wait to see those 2017 times 😍.
    Great post lady!

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Thanks girl! There have for sure been times in my training when I wonder why my times are not improving. This year is a great example for the half marathon. Every half up until the last one I ran was a battle all the way to the finish. The conditions have been poor and my training hadn’t come together for an improved time. The work pays off, but patience is a must.
      You put in so much hard work, and the cross training you do is awesome. Relaxing in a race takes a lot of practice. Tempo runs help with that. Learning to relax when your body is working so hard. Keep it up! And crush that 20 miler girl!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. This is so inspiring to read!! I, too, sometimes see winning times that are a little more than HALF the time it took me to complete a race. And I, too, go whaaaaaaaaaaaat? hoooowwwwwww??! 🙂 And I too feel like I’m too old to get faster so it’s truly inspiring to see that you’ve done it! You’re DOING it!! You’re committed to improving and the work is paying off. Maybe I can too. 🙂

    I may just need to read back through your archives, but have you shared what you’ve done that’s made the biggest impact on your overall speed? Is it a more solid base? Speed work? Tempo runs? Strength training? Just curious!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much!
      On my own with no real plan, I increased my mileage up to 85 miles a week, and pretty much used racing frequently to get faster.
      I did 10 weeks of base training in the spring of this year which included a lot of hills, and I am currently in the middle of a 20 week buildup to my first marathon. My Training Highlights series includes some of my hardest workouts, and on Tuesdays I post my tempo runs (or steady state runs)! Having a coach (since Feb. 2017) has helped tremendously!
      Go for it girl!

      Liked by 3 people

  3. I absolutely love this post. I struggle daily with mental health issues and running is my sanity button but I never think I’m good enough at it. I ran my first half last year at 1:43. The most unorthodox training regime of drinking too much. Running not enough. Your post inspires me to rethink it. And. Believe. I’m 42. Now where are my trainers! X

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you! 1:43 is an amazing time to start with! Drinking too much may pose a problem if you want to train harder and run faster, but I don’t know for sure…haven’t tried it!
      Best of luck with training! and…
      Believe in yourself! : )

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I love this post!! I am glad that Dawn (and at the “old” age of 34, lol) inspired you! She inspires many of us.

    You have probably already come to realize that 34 is young for a distance runner. I am 55 years young and have dreams, God willing, of many more PRs.

    Nice steady downward progression on your half times. With your natural speed, 1:17 is something you should be aiming for too.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. To take more than 20 minutes off your time in those first two years is incredible, and it is very inspiring to see stories like yours, especially without coming from a background of track/running from a young age. I hope today’s race went/is going fantastically!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Just to clarify… I had no high school or collegiate experience. However, I ran track for two years at age 11 and 12 at a State and National Level in the 400m, 800m and in the high jump.
      And thanks! It went well. Not as well as I had hoped, but I am happy with the result.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Wow…I am honored to be inspiring you! Very sweet to say that. 🙂 There have been many ups and downs throughout my running journey and I am certainly grateful to be able to run and compete with these old lady legs. I will be turning 40 in less than a month and know that will offer new challenges in itself. I try to take it one day at a time and enjoy the process and whatever successes and failures it hands me. Keep up the hard work, girl. YOU are inspiring others with your positive outlook, encouraging words to others and being involved in our running community. You can do anything you put your heart and mind into. See you soon! ~Dawn

    Liked by 1 person

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