Friday, September 2, 2011

The New "Bad" Word

The word "training" should be a bad word. Okay, maybe that's going a bit too far. Training does have it place. It has helped countless people prepare for that 10k, half-marathon, or even a life-changing marathon. Maybe training isn't always the answer to a better run, though. I started my running adventure on April 4th, 2011. It began with the wonderful, life-altering Couch-to-5K program. I knew I wasn't a normal runner (whatever that may be) when it became evident that my running speed was basically an ordinary person's fast walking speed. But I persevered. I knew that because I had some medical issues, I had to go at my own pace...even if that pace was slower than a snail's run. I made it all the way through week 5 before running my first ever 5K race. Oh what an experience! It's safe to say that no one knows what it's like to run a race until they finish their own. It's a roller coaster ride of emotions; from an exhilarating start, to wondering "what the hell ever possessed me?"; to a feeling of being the strongest person in the world, to "oh my goodness, was that only one mile?"; to crying and thinking "I can't finish", to crossing the finish line with a multitude of people cheering you on! Wow, what a ride! So, after finishing my first 5K race, I thought that I didn't need that C25K program and I should be able to move on to a "real" training program. It was time to train for a 10K. Why not? The 5K went so well. I tried many wonderful training programs...Kara Goucher's method, John Bingham's program (he's a fellow penguin, should be perfect), and even my own self-designed program based on a mixture of the above...and you know what I figured out? The word "should" should be a bad word. I thought I should train for a 10K because that was supposed to be the natural next step. Training for a 10K turned out to be the worst decision in my running career. I gave myself more chronic fatigue spells than I had all year in that one short month of training. So, I have gone back to the Couch-to-5K program and decided to finish it once and for all. On my very first run (a 60 second run:90 second walk ratio), I shaved off a good 3 minutes from my normal pace...and it felt wonderful! I now know that it may take me longer than the ordinary runner to meet my goals, but I will still meet my goals and that sometimes taking a step backwards, isn't really going backwards at all. For me, it was a great big leap in the right direction...and don't we all want to go there? So...the word "should"?--I "should" be the best wife, mother, daughter, housekeeper, cook, employee, runner...add it to your "bad" word list. Write it on a piece of paper, crumple it up, and burn it, baby! After all, as the famous running quote states, "No matter how slow you go, you are still lapping everybody on the couch"!

Monday, August 15, 2011

Back of The Pack

I ran my fourth 5K on Saturday, August 13, 2011...Yea! I finished last...dead, nobody is anywhere near the finish line last. Sigh. Well, at least I finished, right? Most of the time I'm able to tell myself that and I'm okay with it. There is something about seeing one hundred runners pull away from you at the beginning of the race, though, that can make you feel quite lonely. And then, when the pregnant woman passes you? Loneliness turns to thoughts of outright failure. I kept going, though. It was quiet and I had time to think. The river sure is pretty...oh, those dogs look mean...Watch out for the pothole! It seems as if my thoughts should have been deeper, but it was all I could do to keep placing one foot in front of the other. At about the one mile mark, I saw the other racers coming from the other direction. I hadn't even made it half-way and they were passing me on their way back to the finish line! ARGHHH! Okay, keep it together. Breathe. Let it go. And I did. I started to think about the times I could hardly walk due to the arthritis in my back. I began to remember the days that I couldn't get out of bed because of an intense chronic fatigue spell. Of course, I thought of Hayden and everything he has had to endure in his short life. Why am I beating myself up? I'm out here doing something that I had thought impossible just four months earlier. I should be yelling in victory. I should be screaming at the top of my lungs...I'm doing it, I'm doing it! So I kept going. As I was nearing the end of the course, I recognized two figures running my way. It couldn't be...YES! Two of my running buddies had come back for me! They encouraged me, joked with me, and pushed me towards that finish line. As I crossed the finish, I felt like...well, throwing up to be honest. But after that, I felt like the happiest person in the world. Yes, I was dead last...yes, I was slow...but I had friends, REAL friends who encouraged me and cared about me so much that they would come back for me and help me reach my goals. race ever!!!

Thursday, July 14, 2011

So This is my Life

I've been running a lot lately. Running out of time? Running here and there? No. I've decided to Run for Hayden. Those of you who know me, know who Hayden is. He is one of the sweetest little boys on Earth. He is smart, silly, rambunctious, messy, and beautiful all wrapped up in one little teensy weensy package. He also only has half of a heart. Hayden was born with a severe congenital heart defect known as Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome. Five days after his birth, he had his first open-heart surgery. Five months later, he had his second and he is scheduled to have a third within the next few months. He has always handled surgery well and has continued to amaze everyone with how well he has been in-between procedures. So what about me? How have I handled everything? I would say that I handle life as best as I can. Some days are good, some days are not...but somehow I always get through them. Having a wonderful family helps...definitely helps. But, I have to admit, this is really stressful for me. I worry....worry, worry, worry. I can't help it. I've always thought too much. My brain never shuts off. So, I've decided to run. I run in order to make myself stronger so that I can handle the physical demands of taking care of my family. I run to feel competent and to challenge myself to reach ever larger training goals. I run to feel the sweat trickle down my arms and to feel the pounding of my shoes on the road and the beating of my heart in my chest. I run to rid my thoughts and body of the stress of the day and the stress that the future brings. I run because I now know that just because some people have physical limitations, it doesn't mean that they are limited. I Run For Hayden. Who's with me? Allons-y!