“If you run, you are a runner. It doesn’t matter how fast or how far. It doesn’t matter if today is your first day or if you’ve been running for twenty years. There is no test to pass, no license to earn, no membership card to get. You just run.” – John Bingham
My name is Erica. I’m a wife, a retired Naval Officer, and a mother. I am also a runner.
My blog is about my journey in this intriguing world of running. I’m what you’d call an amateur runner, still learning the ropes of what is best for running. I was never much of a runner when I was younger. I was a somewhat competitive mile runner when I was in 7th grade but that’s mainly because I wanted a Mile Club t-shirt for gym. After middle school I was no longer required to take regular PE (I took color guard and dance in it’s place instead). Even though I was part of ROTC and wanted to enlist into the Navy, I was one of those people who loathed running and saw it as a punishment. I only ran if I was made to and saw cross-country and track runners at school as “crazy athletes.”
My mindset on running didn’t change in college. I was part of the “3 miles a year” club in that I only ran twice a year: the 1.5 miles I needed to do to complete my Navy physical fitness assessment. Of course, I ran during mandatory physical training when we had to, but if I had a choice I would rather walk my laps than run. I continued on this level of running as well after I graduated and commissioned into the Navy. I only made sure I could pass my physical fitness assessment and left it at that.
I was struggling with the stress of being an officer on a naval ship on deployment. In an effort to find a healthy way to cope with the stress, I turned to running. That may have been due to how hard it was to lift weights on a rocking ship (believe it or not running was easier). It started easy enough with running just a mile, then 3, then 7. On December 25, 2010 I completed my first double-digit run: 10 miles. I felt euphoric and was hooked. Soon I was running double-digits regularly and felt at peace running my stresses away for those 7 months at sea. This, however, was only the beginning of my running journey. My first official race was what truly sealed the deal for me.
I signed up for my first half marathon during my deployment. I chose the Disneyland Half Marathon simply because a friend of mine had mentioned it the year before and it was a race close to my hometown. I went to packet pick up with a deer in the headlights look. Everything was so intimidating and big. I had never seen anything like it before. I was scared but excited about what was to come the next day.
I ran my race with the expectation to just finish. I had only run 13 miles once and it was on the treadmill on deployment. I had no idea what to expect running an actual race. I was pleasantly surprised. There were many spectators cheering us on along the roads in Anaheim. I was great to see all these people out so early supporting random strangers. Before I knew it, I was .1 miles away from the finish. I rounded the corner and saw my husband:
At the finish I felt this incredible high. I did something I never thought I could do. In fact, I did something others didn’t think I could do. I even did it at a decent time. More importantly I was hooked.
After this race I set my sights on something bigger: The WDW Marathon. I signed up for the Goofy Challenge, something I came to soon regret because I bit off more than I could chew in the end. I became pregnant in October, didn’t train for 2 months because of morning sickness, then set off to run the challenge. I’d be lying if I said it was an incredible experience. It was horrible, I was nowhere near trained to run a marathon, and I crossed the finish line vowing I would never run a marathon again. Famous last words, right?
I ran one other race while pregnant, the Princess half pictured above, then pretty much called it quits at 6 months pregnant because of pubic symphysis dysfunction. After the birth of my daughter, I returned to running as a way to lose the weight. 2 months postpartum I ran my comeback race: the Disneyland Half (again, lol). After that race I set my sights on the distance I said I wouldn’t do again. I signed up for 2 marathons and said I would train. The first one went okay but I really buckled down for the second and ran my PR.
Since then I’ve consider myself a running fanatic, though a newbie at best. I’ve gone on to run more half marathons, 2 marathons, and attempted a year-long running streak twice (With the first one I got to 6 months then suffered a stress fracture from over-training. The second one I started before I found out I was pregnant. Got 8.5 months complete, though!). I’m still on my running journey as I want to qualify for and run the Boston Marathon one day. I’m not there yet but I’m getting one step closer each day.
Aside from Boston, my goal is to run the LA Marathon and 25th WDW Marathon. I chose LA because it’s the race I was watching on TV with my dad when I told him I would run a marathon one day. He kind of laughed at me and told me no way since I wasn’t a runner at the time. WDW is the other because I want to dominate the race I loathed. After I complete these, I have no idea what I’ll chase after next. Maybe an Ironman? Maybe 😉