Helen Billingham Half/Full Marathon Participant

My Dad was a serious runner for many years, but he also had a later start beginning in his mid-30s. When I was a teenager he was so supportive of me wanting to go out and exercise that he would accompany me on his bike as I biked next to him or tried to run. He would then head out to do his own mileage.  I dabbled with running over the next few years but was never consistent. 

Fast forward to about 2000 and as I bolted away from a 5k starting line, almost keeling over with shortness of breath and nausea after about ¼ mile, I quickly learned I needed to be much more informed. Needless to say I put it off for a while. As an exercise instructor for over 15 years, raising our children, and with a husband who often traveled, it didn’t leave much time for running.

In early 2014 I got tennis elbow and was only able to do cardio and had limitations with my upper body work. (I am not a tennis player and it was on my non-dominant arm – go figure!)  Not being sure what to do I started running and biking just while my elbow healed, thinking it would only take a few weeks.  Not the case.

I had just started a new job and Corporate Challenge was around the corner. I signed up it gave me a goal. That was June 2014 and I did a faster time than I had anticipated and it was also the farthest I had ever run – 3.5 miles. It fueled me to want to do more running. I’m happy that our paths have crossed again and this time I intend to stick with it!

In the summer and fall of 2014 I basically ran and biked until the weather started to turn much cooler. I have to confess I preferred the biking as it was much easier than the running. I signed up for the Half Full Marathon (HFM) program with Fleet Feet Sports and ran outside all winter long.  Boy, that was challenging some days!  The encouragement and support from both the coaches and other participants is amazing and we are always there for each other. After completing the HFM program at the end of May 2015 I will have done the Rochester Flower City Half Marathon (April 2015) and the Buffalo Half Marathon (May 2015). Both accomplishments I had never envisioned myself doing.

My advice is to be consistent and believe in yourself.  Learn from your coaches (especially pacing and nutrition) and soak up as much information as you can. 

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