Making it to the 10-Miler...Uphill Both Ways!
February 16, 2017
By Danielle Levin
Class of 2017
Running 10 miles was never on my bucket list. The most I had ever run was a 5k as a first year student at UVA, and when I say “run” I mean my friend and I walked 95% of the race. It wasn’t until my second year, when I was forced to learn time management skills while juggling a heavy course load, that I started to associate running with stress relief. Running became my escape. Even though I never made it past a two mile run, I would have this great feeling of accomplishment that was enough to make me do it again. For a while.
Enter fourth year and the job search. Once again, stress drove me to lace up my running shoes. The third year hiatus didn’t do me any favors, but I persevered and soon found myself looking for a challenge! My roommate had just the solution – “let’s run the Charlottesville 10-miler” says she who has participated in this local tradition every year, and she who has tried (unsuccessfully until now) to convince me to join her.
After working through all of my doubts about physically being able to run a 10-mile race, I registered and was locked in. Having never trained for a race, I decided to start over winter break because I needed all the time I could get. Those first few miles were brutal. It took me a solid week and a half to run two miles non-stop. But I can’t even describe my excitement when I completed my first 4-mile run! That was the elusive milestone I needed to increase my mileage.
I’m writing this having just completed a 7-mile run. Yes, 7 miles! I plan to run 8 miles this weekend and then I’ll be ready for my 10-miler! My favorite running routes are around the North Grounds Rec Center and along the Rivanna Trails.
For me, running is all mental. I had to decide I could. Take it from me, a mediocre athlete, from a family with no athletic claims to fame, it can be done! My journey toward the 10-miler has been a solitary pursuit, but in hindsight, I would have loved to train with a group. Working with others pushes you to try your hardest and gives you the motivation to never give up. My advice is to never say never, and to take advantage of every opportunity. Try something new, set a goal, get physically fit, meet supportive friends and feel unbelievably proud of yourself. You’ll never know what you can accomplish if you don’t try.
Now I know (another hindsight!) that Intramural-Recreational Sports on Grounds is an incredible resource to help you get a head start on your training:
- Couch to 5K (starts 2/21/17)
- 1/2 Marathon Training (starts 2/21/17)
- Trail Running at The Park (starts 3/13/17)
- Intro to Triathlon Training (starts 3/19/17)
Thanks, Casey, for not giving up on me! Here she is in the Spring 2016 10-Miler: