I started running in the summer of 2011. Why, you ask? I was skinny my whole life and I really wanted to be more toned and muscular. Not because of vanity, but for a sense of health and well-being. I had tried different sports and activities (taekwondo, self-defense, yoga, etc.) but gave up on everything and had never tried running. Still, as a little girl, I had always pictured myself as a runner.
“Set a goal so big you can’t achieve it, until you grow into the person who can.”
At first, I couldn’t even run a mile without stopping. I was totally out of breath, exhausted … but I didn’t want to give up on it. So I went out on the next day again, and ran a little more. Day by day, I started having this strange feeling. Every time when I even thought of running, my heart started to beat faster. Of course, I didn’t know anything about proper form, training, or getting good running shoes, appropriate shoe sizes, rest days, strikes, pronation, you name it. I knew NOTHING about running … but I knew one thing: I had found my passion at long last, after years of searching. I went out every day. My shoes were too small because I did not understand that often times runners have to size up a half to a full size. I bought the wrong brand shoe for me, and wrong style for my type of foot strike. Everything was a mess. At least I ran. Everyday I ran.
One day a friend of mine asked me if I wanted to register for a race. He said the race is on Thanksgiving Day every year, and it’s called the Gobble Gobble 4 Miler. I was thrilled. As soon as I got home, I Googled it, found all the information and signed up without thinking. I got excited and started training even harder. Haha! It is funny to say think back about it. I was really crazy about the idea, not taking any rest days, not knowing how many miles I should run a day. Four miles seemed very long to me back then.
My First Race
Packet Pickup, I Still remember that day. I was so excited, I didn’t know anything about what to expect with T-shirt and bib numbers. Omg! Such great memories! I met a very nice man, who was very helpful with everything. This man was the Race Director, Matt Sonneborn. I thank him for being there for all the beginner runners! It meant, and means, a lot.
Race day came. I didn’t know what to expect. I pushed myself so hard in my too narrow wrong model running shoes. I ended up with horrible knee pain. That said, the race was absolutely amazing! It was an indelible memory: Nice people, a well organized race, the volunteers were very helpful. On that day, I knew I had fallen in love with running.
I couldn’t walk after the race for a week, and my knee hurt so bad. Of course I didn’t know anything about proper treatment, healing or resting. Instead of taking a break I signed up for the Naples Half Marathon. The same thing happened again. A crazy training schedule, no rest, still no proper running shoes and clothing. Long story short: the Naples Half was still an absolute success. After my first half marathon I knew I didn’t just fall in love with running, I fell in love with long distance running!!!
My knee was fine, but unfortunately I now had an Achilles pain/bone spur which ruined my dreams for a short time. I had signed up for a few 5K races but decided to take a break this time. In the meantime, I started reading books and articles about running. Now I probably know as much about injuries and treatment as any foot doctor. 🙂
A Lifetime of Running
In 2011 I did my first four miler, in January in 2012 my first half and numerous various distance local races … but my dream was something bigger. My dream was to participate in a full marathon. It was scary at first, but that’s exactly what I liked about it. The challenge. So in the Fall of 2012 I signed up for my very first marathon and started my training with much more knowledge and new shoes that fit my running style and the correct size. I loved every single part of the training.
On January 13th, 2013 I finished my very first full marathon, the Walt Disney World Marathon. Since then, I am unstoppable. I am always in training. I still enjoy doing all kinds of distances but the closest to my heart is the full marathon distance. Maybe I will run an ultra one day!? In the past 3 years I learned a lot through my mistakes and I became a smarter runner. Now I take the smallest injury very seriously because I would like to be running the rest of my life … and I know I will. 🙂
“I never would’ve thought that one sport could change my entire outlook on life – until I became a runner. “
I’ll be running my 4th marathon in this coming September. I’m in love with it. I can’t wait. I enjoy the challenge, the struggle, the pain. Every single mile is a miracle, spiritual, and powerful. Crossing the finish line is one of the greatest feelings you can experience in life. It’s one of my life’s greatest personal achievements!
Thank you for that amazing first experience! GG4M was an absolutely great way to start my running journey.
I clearly remember Eva at her first Gobble Gobble. She needed a little reassurance. She reminded me of what I was like at my first event! Thank you for this story and congratulations on your journey through the gift of running Eva! I hope anyone reading this will take the first step and participate in your first event. Make sure and check out a good running store like Fit2Run and get some training advice from Matt Reedy at Leapfrog Athletics to avoid some of the mistakes we all made in the beginning.
Matthew Sonneborn – Race Director, Gobble Gobble Four Miler