COVID-19 Turned Me Into A Runner
"As I grew older, I would run sporadically on and off with no goal or event ever crossing my mind, but about six years ago I started to run with more purpose."
As a triathlete I am often asked which of the three disciplines is my favorite. In the past I had no problems very quickly answering, “Anything but the run!” I have dabbled in running since cross country and track in 7th grade (way back in 1990). I was an O.K. runner but would rather be swimming, which was my first love. As I grew older, I would run sporadically on and off with no goal or event ever crossing my mind, but about six years ago I started to run with more purpose. I completed several races including a marathon but I still never was really into running. About that same time my husband got me a road bike and I was in love with riding my bike from that day forward.
Going into my triathlon journey several years ago I found I was strong on the bike and swim but not so much on the run. I figured I should just play to my strengths and continued to focus my time and energy on my bike and swim. I only ran what I needed to get through whichever distance I was training for which could have been a sprint or a 140.6 race. As I raced more, my goals and expectations were becoming higher and higher for myself but I still would never fully commit to the run. Even with a coach I was still managing to gain most of my fitness without too much time on that dreaded run.
Then COVID-19 and quarantine hit. Races were cancelled including Ironman Tulsa which I had been training for, for months. As the days and weeks went by, I found it was getting harder and harder for me to stay focused and to get in workouts with no goal in sight. I am a very goal orientated person and suddenly my prospects for a race were looking very slim. I was losing all my fitness and I was becoming depressed. About that time, I saw that Runner's World had a run streak from Memorial Day to Fourth of July; that's 41 days of running at least a mile a day. I thought maybe this is just what I need to get motivated again. I text my running buddy and told her she was going to have to do this challenge with me "oh and it starts tomorrow". My husband laughed and said he didn't really think I would get through 5 days.
Today is November 13th and after my run tonight it will be 173 days of running at least a mile a day. Last month I completed the Keys 100 Challenge which was 100 miles of running in 10 days. I just signed up for my first 50-mile ultra-marathon in Daytona, FL, on December 5th, with a fellow Siren Sister. For the first time in my life, I actually enjoy running! I have no idea how I went from a reluctant 10 miles a week to running 30 sometimes 60 plus miles a week with an actual smile on my face, but here I am and I can't wait to get off work and go for my run tonight!
It is only fair to mention that our new Siren Sister Rachel Rayburn is the poor soul who agreed to this challenge with me and she is on day 173 too although I haven't been able to talk her into that Ultra yet...
Written By: Gretchen McCabe, Tri Sirena Siren Luminary
Follow Gretchen on Instagram @gretchen_mccabe
Have you recently found joy in something you dreaded? Let us know in the comments below!
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