Why I Started Running
by Tina Ammermann and Martha McSims
Running is something I had thought about doing for a long time. I joined Second Wind with my husband, David, almost four years ago and have stayed active with the group by volunteering at most races. I was a little afraid to start running but I have ran/walked a few races in the past. Earlier in the year my doctor recommended that I start doing more load bearing exercises. So, with the encouragement of my husband, Martha, Tammy, Karen, Laura, and several others I joined the Beginning Women’s Running Group (BWRG) for the spring session.
When I started I was a little apprehensive about the whole process. Meeting new people, learning more about how to run and actually the running. When I went to the first night everyone was great from the other beginning runners to the mentors. Martha explained the whole process that we were about to embark on to work our way up to running the Kirby Derby 5K. We met each Tuesday with optional running sessions on Thursdays and Sundays. I tried to attend each session to help build up my endurance to be able to run the full 3.1 miles. I had also signed up for the Mini-Challenge during the Illinois Marathon weekend. I had done those races three years ago but mostly walked both events.
Each week the mentors were great sharing their running stories and encouraging us to keep working toward our goal. I slowly was able to build up how long I could run before having to walk. I also enjoyed the speakers that told us how to properly stretch before and after running and gave us more information about Second Wind and all the events and runs that the club sponsors.
I volunteered at the Second Wind booth at the Illinois Marathon Expo. While working that I connected with a friend from the past who was running the 10K so we decided to run it together. Both my son and husband ran the 5K with me and I was able to run the whole race without walking, which was a first for me. The next day I met my friend and we started the 10K. I was not sure if I was going to be able to run the full distance. But I discovered that when you are out there running with a friend it makes it a lot easier to complete. When we crossed the finish line I had beat my previous time by over 6 minutes per mile.
I continued training with BWRG three times a week working toward the group’s goal at the Kirby Derby. Each week everyone was great with their words of encouragement and continual sharing of running information. When race day came we all met at the registration area to get ready for the race. I know I could complete this 5K since I had done one two weeks prior so my goal was to improve on my time and get another PR. I finished the race completing my goal.
To me personally running has become rewarding in twos ways. First, I can tell my overall health is better. Second, when I miss a run I feel like there is something missing from the day. I have really enjoyed my new friends and our new-found ability. The Beginning Women’s Running Group ran the Kirby Derby as their goal race! What a fun and inspiring group of people! If you know someone who would like to join you in some of your running craziness, introduce them to the group and be on the lookout for the fall Beginning Women’s Running Group! I have also found I enjoy doing other workouts such as bike riding and other cross training. I am really glad I joined the BWRG it helped me when I really needed it.
I look forward to continuing this adventure--who knows, maybe someday I will run a marathon.
This article originally appeared in the July/August 2018 issue of In Passing.