async="src="/ Taking the Long Way Home: The 10 Year Challenge

Friday, January 10, 2020

The 10 Year Challenge

Did you participate in the 10 year challenge? If you are on Facebook or Instagram, you couldn't have missed it. People posted 2 pictures of themselves, a current photo and one from 10 years ago, side-by-side, to show how much they've changed. Some people called it the "How Hard Did Aging Hit You Challenge", which was enough to make me shy away.

There were also the conspiracy theorists who claimed that Facebook made up the whole challenge for their facial identification software. Considering how many photos people already post on Facebook and that a lot of users have been on the platform for over 10 years, I highly doubt 2 more photos are going to make a dent in what Facebook already has on us.

I didn't participate in the Facebook challenge, but I'm sitting here in front of a blank blog post and searching for things to write about. I didn't do a throwback post at the turn of the decade, so I thought it might be fun to look back on running over the past 10 years. Fridays are usually reserved for more personal posts on the blog, so thanks for indulging me.



In early 2010, I ran my first half marathon, the Door County (Wisconsin) half marathon. While I've been a runner for close to 30 years, I never ran anything more than a 10k until I signed up for my first half. Motherhood and graduate school took priority and I was content with my shorter distance runs. We were long-time vacationers in Door County, the race was in its 2d year and mom suggested that I run it, thinking it would be kind of special. I recruited 2 friends to run it with me. I had no idea how to train for a half marathon! I just continued my shorter runs during the week and gradually increased my mileage once a week for a long run. I finished that first half marathon in 2:02. I had no finish time goals and I didn't even know if that was a good finish time or not.

I later learned that it was a very good finish time for a first half marathon. I was 47 years old.

Then...the Door County Half Marathon with my friend Becci
Now...the Schaumburg Turkey Trot Half Marathon with Steph
Ten years later, I ran my 24th half marathon, the Schaumburg Turkey Trot Half Marathon. I trained the same way I trained for that very first half marathon, 10 years ago. Short runs during the week. A progressively longer run on the weekend. Finishing in 2:08, coming off of a rough year of health issues, I was really proud of that finish time.

Ten years ago, I ran with my pink iPod mini. I wore a Timex Ironman watch to keep track of time, but I never kept the data. I don't remember what shoes I ran in back then, but I can tell you that I was a fan of Nike's tempo shorts. Inknburn wasn't even a twinkle in my eye. Now I have wireless headphones that connect with my iPhone. My music is streamed via Spotify. I wear my Garmin Forerunner and my data automatically uploads to the Garmin app. Ten years ago, I posted my races on my personal Facebook page until I started this blog 6 years ago. Runner's World and Running Times were my go-to for all things running; now I get my information off the internet and blogs. Runner's World isn't really relevant anymore unless you're looking for shoe reviews.

So much has changed!

In the past 10 years, I've completed 4 full marathons and a number of races of various distances. One of those marathons was a bucket list item, the Big Sur Marathon. I still can't believe I got to do that!

I've watched my age group shrink but it's still competitive. The fast old ladies are still running. Running hasn't changed much except that certain races have become so popular that runners have to enter a lottery to get it. The first time I signed up for Chicago was in 2011 and there was no lottery. I remember when I made the decision and hit the submit button on my computer. I was a nervous wreck the entire 6 months after I signed up! In fact, my nerves were my biggest obstacle on race day. When I ran it again, 3 years later, I was much better prepared physically and mentally, thanks to my CrossFit coach.

I continue to strength train and do CrossFit to this day. I credit my work at the box with keeping me strong on the road. As much as I love what I do there, running will always be my first love. When I look ahead to 10 years from now I wonder--will I still be running? I sure hope so. I think about all that I've learned on this running journey; how running has become more than just a way to stay in shape. I've met so many wonderful runners, both locally and across the country, and running really became a lifestyle for me.

Where will I be in 10 years from now? Hopefully, I'll still be out there, running down the path, listening to really bad music, and smiling all the while. What a long, strange trip it's been. And oh so fun!

Did you participate in the 10 year challenge? What's been your biggest change over the past 10 years? While I focused on running for this post, there's been a lot of changes in my life! What do you think you'll be doing, running-wise, 10 years from now?

I'm linking this post with Fridays with Fairytales and Fitness.







28 comments :

  1. What a fun look back! I'm impressed you actually got a medal at your first half. Mine was in 2007 and I got no shirt or medal. Times have changed for sure. I remember being at mile 12 and thinking "oh I may come in under 2 hours...is that good??" Hahaha! RW still shows up in my mail box. I'm waiting for the subscription to run out but it never seems to. I miss Running Times!

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    1. Isn't it funny to remember when we were your young and naive?

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  2. I did not participate in the 10 year challenge. I didn't even see it and I am on FB, but not a lot. Your look back is so similar to mine. I ran my first half at age 47 and my time was 2:02. I didn't know if that was a good time or not either. I just wanted to finish. The last half I ran my time was 2:06 (but more than 10 years separated those races). I had run for a long time before I did any races at all. I agree that the old lady age groups are still competitive. There are a lot of fast runners still racing even at my age! I hope we are both still out there in 10 years, running and enjoying ourselves.

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    1. You and me both!! We need to meet up at a race--that would be fun.

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  3. Oh, this is a fun look-back! I may steal this idea for my Weekly Wrap post, but if I do, I'll give you credit. ;-) Or maybe I should do 20 years since I started running in 2000, but I wasn't blogging back then .... Maybe Facebook doesn't need those photos, but it could help AI developers at Facebook and everywhere else see how people age ....

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  4. I had no idea that we both ran our first half marathon at almost the same time and age (mine was in 2011, though, and I was a little older, just about to turn 50). I trained kind of the same way for it, too.

    It's fun to look back, isn't it? So much has changed! Thanks for sharing your journey with us, Wendy, and I hope to be out there running (well, maybe not alongside you) as the years go by.

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  5. Let's see, 10 years ago I was just starting to run and could totally knock out 2 miles anytime I wanted to. Last year I ran over 1000 miles. Who knows what the next 10 years will bring running wise, but hopefully there will be a lot of it. When you expand the look beyond running, oh my goodness it's mind boggling.

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    1. Isn't that the truth? Running is so amazing. My life has been better because of it.

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  6. This is fun to look back on. Lots to be proud of. I remember the pink ipod mini too! The biggest change for me over the last 10 years is probably running with my group. I used to run alone when I first started. I have also slowed down a bit the last few years. I would also say that I have more fun with running and exercise now and maybe take it less seriously. I just hope to be running w my crew 10 years from now

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    1. I hope you're still running with your crew in 10 years as well!

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  7. Very cool look back to 10 years ago! I didn't do the challenge on Facebook but I remember seeing it when people were doing it. I was just too lazy to go back and find a photo online from 2009. Though that was the year I got married so it was a big year for change.

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  8. I too decided to pass on the FB challenge. I had the mini ipod and shuffle. I have a friend that still uses a shuffle. I use to love reading Runner's World until they changed the format.
    Hopefully we will all be running in 10 years.

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  9. In 10 years’ time, you will still be running, blogging, cross fitting and cheering us on with your great example. That’s one thing I’m very sure of.
    Oh, and another thing, which you probably don’t want to hear: you hardly aged in those 10 years!!!
    Running has been keeping you fit and young.
    Here’s to the next 10 years!

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    1. You just made my day!! But I do agree, running keeps us young.

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  10. I love this! I am sure you will be running and cheering us all on in 10 years' time, too. Hm, let's see, in 2009 I did half marathons, once a year, that was my thing. I wasn't in a club and only ran with my friend Jen. I looked at parkrun but everyone was a bit fast at the local one so I didn't join in. I had a stopwatch or maybe my first watch and I'm pretty sure I was in Mizunos. Now I've done four marathons and one ultra and hope to keep doing marathons but not ultras! I hope to be running in 10 years' time and would hope that I'm still running marathons or halves in 20 and 30!

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    1. Pretty sure you'll still be running in 10 years--no matter what the distance!

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  11. Aww, I like this post so much Wendy! ( Perhaps I will write one soon, but will give you credit for the idea). I am in amazement that you ran your first half at age 47 because to be honest, I didn't think you were much older than that right now!

    I STILL have that pink ipod ( but I think mine might be the touch). Honestly not much has changed for me in the Running World from 10 years ago, except I now run in Mizunos and my subscription to Runner's World HAS run out. Okay, so perhaps this might not be too interesting of a post for me...lol. Thanks for linking up! -M

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    1. LOL! You should share your 10 years! It's your experience. And BTW, I still have that pink iPod mini! It doesn't hold a charge, otherwise, I'd probably still be running with it,lol.

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  12. I plan to still be running! I thought the 10-year challenge was fun, and I used family pics for contribution to the game. The kids had really changed, obviously. Yeah, 10 years ago, I'd done a few half's (maybe 3 or 4), and had NO desire to ever attempt anything further. I'm glad I ventured out of that comfort zone or I'd never discovered strength-training, stair-climbing, HIIT, or the marathon. Change is good!

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  13. Ten years from now I'll be 72 years old (eek!) and hope that I can still run! Ten years ago I was training for my 37th marathon, Boston, and had to do many of my runs (even a few 16-18 milers) on the treadmill due to a very snowy winter. Ten years ago I didn't realize that my nagging right hamstring pain was actually coming from my back...

    BTW, I love the idea for this post. I didn't do the FB challenge either, but enjoyed looking at others'. Our running tech gadgets are very similar, both then and now.

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    1. It's kind of scary (for me at least!) to look ahead 10 years! Like you, I hope I'll be running too.

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  14. I'm with you in shunning the general Facebook challenges but this 10 year recap is really enjoyable :) 10 years ago streaming Spotify while running with wireless headphones would have BLOWN my MIND! hehe. You have been a running machine over these past 10 years, Wendy. I hope you are feeling well - it's about time I caught up with you via the blog!

    Over the past 10 years... I have ran 13 marathons, gotten married, had 3 kids and moved 3 times. Here's to the next 10 years!

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    1. I'm so glad you checked in! I was thinking about how much I enjoy my streaming music and the ability to listen to anything I want, any time!

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