Run More Awesome / Training

#19: Good things come slow – especially in distance running.

Over the last week, I’ve read a lot of running materials, and for some reason, these readings have got me thinking about my early running.

I’m not a born runner. I think back to elementary school when Coach Cornell made us run one mile during P.E. class, an agonizing twenty laps around the gym. Her one piece of advice that I still remember: Don’t clench your fists; put your forefinger and thumb together and pretend to hold an egg. Did I run well? Not at all. The Fast Jakes finished first, followed by the Fast Kristins, I was somewhere in the middle of the pack, and the fat kids finished last.

In middle school, I wasn’t much of a runner either. After a growth spurt in sixth and seventh grades, I was tall enough (but not nearly athletic enough) to be on the basketball team. I quit my ballet classes (I just wasn’t any good at pointe work), and I struggled to find a place to fit in athletically.

In the spring of eighth grade I started running to “get in shape.” Here was my rationale: I was going to play tennis my freshman year of high school, so I would be on the swim team the summer before to “get in shape” for tennis; therefore, I needed to run before swim season started to be in shape for the summer.

On the tennis team, we didn’t run much, especially my freshman year, but with a new coach my sophomore year, we started line drills. By the spring of my sophomore year, I was weight-lifting regularly, and I ran my first two miles without walking. I continued running and weight-lifting throughout high school, and by my senior year, I was the fastest on the tennis team.

It never occurred to me that I could be on the track team until after high school (after all, I was outrunning a few of my team members who did run track), until after high school when I learned that my dad ran cross country in high school.

In college, I ran with boyfriends and roommates; my favorite of which took my roommate Amy and me downtown past a bread factory. I got married after my undergraduate work and pretty much stopped working out. When I got to grad school, I met Linden, who was training for Chicago that fall, and we started running together.

I ran my first race–a 10K–last spring, before which I learned that I shouldn’t drive before I race. I was so excited that I got a speeding ticket. I’ve run a few 5Ks in the last year, and now I’ve set my sights on a half-marathon in November and a marathon next spring. Yikes!

*This blog entry was originally posted at

“Good things come slow – especially in distance running.” — Bill Dellinger