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running shoesI started my dalliance with running nearly 4 years ago. I was looking for some motivation to get off the couch and lose some weight, and figured that if I signed myself up for a race that the potential embarrassment of walking the whole thing might motivate me into action. I didn’t train too hard, but I made it through my first 5k in around 32 minutes.

I never devoted too much time to running. I’d hit the gym maybe once or twice a week when the weather was bad and do a couple of miles on a treadmill; maybe run a couple of miles outside if the weather was good. And I didn’t notice huge improvements in my times or endurance, but I kept at it, albeit intermittently.

Then came April 1 of this year. I don’t know what possessed me, but I was on the treadmill at the gym and ran 5 miles in 49 minutes. And, as with a few other times in my life, it was as if some sort of mental switch flipped. Suddenly running is enjoyable, something I don’t have to do, but rather that I want to do. (I wish I could figure out what it is that causes that switch to flip. There are other places in my life it’d be useful…)

I started tracking my runs on Runkeeper, which was great. (Android app + GPS in phone = easy run tracking!) I ran 16 times in April, for a total of just over 52 miles. I’ve been a little bit of a slacker in May so far – have only run 3 times for 12+ miles, but that included a 6-mile run. I’m losing weight (slowly), definitely building endurance, and feeling great doing it.

I’ve been tossing around ideas for a season-long motivator to keep me pushing this summer, and the one that’s tantalizing me is the New Bo Fest Half Marathon, held Labor Day weekend in Cedar Rapids. I don’t know how quickly I can add endurance and distance, but it seems like it’d be doable if I’m committed to putting in the time. I found a great little training app for my phone (Epic Runner) and I’m using it to push me along. I’ve not yet been brave enough to sign up for the race, but I think I will… soon.

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