EDITOR'S NOTE: This is the latest in a series of weekly columns by Kayla Dunn, a 25-year-old Belpre resident who is training to run in the News and Sentinel Half Marathon on Aug. 16. Dunn teaches Autistic students at Fairplains Elementary School.
Last Monday, we had our 10-mile training from the City Park to south side and back. I'm pretty excited that we are working our way back down in mileage. I'm feeling a little more confident before the training runs that I can complete them, whereas before I wasn't so sure.
I wasn't exactly in the right mind set when I got to the park that day because life got in the way and my car decided not to start. So I had to have my running partner Hannah pick me up, and we got there right on time! I usually get there a little early so I can stretch and just relax before the run, so trying to get my mind in it at first took some time because I was wondering what was wrong with my car and of course the cost to fix it.
We started off as usual leaving from the City Park to Washington Avenue. I had my headphones on and music going while I was running. Hannah was feeling good so I told her to go ahead and we could meet at the water stop. It was a nice night for a run; it didn't feel too hot or humid. We got to the first water stop and I took a drink of water. I was feeling pretty good, so I took a few sips and kept going. We started venturing toward south side and I was feeling pretty good. I didn't feel winded and didn't feel like my legs were cramping. I was just running without worrying about the time. I know I'm a slow runner, I'm not sure I'll ever be a fast runner, but I'm all right with that.
Like I said before, the Fifth Street bridge and the hill going towards Parkersburg South High School is always a mental game with me. I knew the last time I ran this route, I was already walking. I knew if I just kept pushing I could do it. Halfway up the hill to Parkersburg South, I could feel it getting tougher but I was going to push through it.
I finally got to the water stop and I was very happy I didn't walk. Hannah was waiting for me at the water stop. So we took a few drinks and stretched out a little bit. She told me she wasn't feeling very well and that she might walk some. So I told her I would walk with her. This is another reason I love running. I had a horrible run with the 12-mile training route. It didn't go well at all. My knee was hurting, I didn't feel good, and nothing felt right. She didn't leave me behind. She walked with me when I needed to walk. I was very discouraged and mad at myself but she didn't even mention running. We just talked about other things until we got back to the park. Now that she wasn't feeling this run, I walked with her. I can't stress the importance of having a group of friends that run. It doesn't even matter if you run with them or not, just bouncing your discouragements or advice off each other helps so much.
We walked for a while and talked about work and the upcoming training we have. School is about ready to start so we both were talking about what we needed to do to get our rooms put together. Good thing was we were already halfway through our run. We decided to start running again and we ran to the next water stop off of Camden Avenue.
We took a few drinks of water and stretched out quite a bit. She said she still wasn't feeling very well so I told her we should walk for a little bit. We left the water stop and started walking some. We got to Camden and decided we were going to run a little bit. At this point, we didn't really see very many people around! But we kept going until we got to the next water stop right before Seventh Street. We got there and they had some Starbursts, so I ate a couple.
We took a few breathers and kept going. We started running on Seventh Street but Hannah said she needed to walk. She said she was feeling tight all over. So we walked on Seventh Street until we got to Fairview Avenue. Once we got on Fairview, we ran until we got to the park. I always try to end a run on a positive note. Even if the run feels awful and didn't feel good just make the last 5 minutes count. It always makes me feel better.
We got back to the City Park and took a few more sips of water and decided that we just needed to get something to eat! Food always makes you feel better, right? We talked with a few of the runners and they were telling us not to get discouraged, that there are always bad runs. I love this group of runners. Everyone is very encouraging and friendly and I'm very glad that I decided to join the River City Runners and Walkers Club. Ever since I started running it has changed my whole lifestyle. I watch what I eat, I make sure to make a lot healthier decisions, I drink more water, I work out to supplement my running. It has changed my life. I highly recommend running or walking to someone who decides they want a healthier lifestyle.
The next training run is Monday, Aug. 4 starting at the City Park for our 7-mile run. I hope to see you all there!