Ok... time for some catch up. I want to include my running escapades in my travel blog because really... who wants to read through several blogs that I have written? I'm hoping to combine running and travel anyway, so why not? And mostly this journal is for my own benefit. For when something like Alzheimer hits and I need something to remind me what I've done during my life. As you can see by my blog, I'm not very good at keeping a journal. I never have been. All I can do is try. I guess it's more than some people do, right?
Soooo... This last spring (before my cruise with my mom) I started running at the gym. Nothing extreme but was finally doing it (on the treadmill that is). After a month or so of working out on the treadmill I decided to take myself out into the neighborhood. Well... I couldn't even make it to the end of my street! SO NOT KIDDING! I felt stupid and slow and my legs were screaming at me and I couldn't even go a mile. I came home after one tiny block and threw my shoes in my closet and probably ate some bon-bons.
I have been a (pretty) good gym person since 1998. I've had some times that have been better than others. For any new readers, my daughter was diagnosed with leukemia in 2007 and then after 2 and 1/2 years of treatment, relapsed and had to have a Bone Marrow Transplant last Christmas eve. Well, the last year has packed 20 pounds on this short little body. TWENTY POUNDS! And I wasn't exactly skinny to begin with. I chalk most of this up to hospital cafeteria food (mostly bacon, which is the only thing good there) eating out for almost every meal, and FAR too much to drink! Who wouldn't need a glass or three of wine each night? This also threw my workout time out the window. I've never ever been a dieter and everyone that knows me knows I'd rather exercise than diet. I love food! I love to cook really good food... and I love to go out for really good food. I do not diet! But (cancer aside) I do have a really good self discipline for working out.
Jump ahead to October... my cousin Rian, who lives in California, posted on Facebook that she was thinking of running a marathon. Like me, she's always had the idea that running is only the result of being chased by someone. And even then, I think I'd only run if the option was getting raped. Otherwise just shoot me and get it over with. I DO NOT RUN! And we know how my last attempt worked out. So... I posted on her Facebook wall that maybe she should shoot for a half first. Because 26.2 miles is like... a LOT! I told her what I was doing at the gym on the treadmill. Well... a few days go by discussing running and stuff and she writes and says I should do this half marathon with her in Huntington Beach. WHA WHA WHAT!??? Me? run? Outside!? For no other purpose than to say "I've done it" and to get the shiny surf board medal at the end. This is IF I make it to the end. They do not give you a medal if you take a cab to the finish line. Something I really don't understand because really... what's it to them if you can live with yourself for doing this? Selfish bastards really...
In a very weak moment (and warm thoughts of the Newport Beach area in February) I agree. I've read many things since saying you should always think about what you are getting into... take a night to sleep on it. A book I am reading now says "Do... do sleep on this decision because it's going to be the last really good sleep you'll have until your marathon is over." This is not a lie.
Well, I didn't think on it... that very day I registered and bought airplane tickets. And then I texted my very good friend Cynthia (who is a marathon runner) and said "FUCK!!!! I've registered for a half marathon in February. Can I possibly do this?" And she sends me a text back saying "If you start training immediately and work hard. I'll email you a training schedule." I print out the schedule and hung it on the fridge. I had 4 weeks before the 12 week Half Marathon training schedule for beginners started. You think about the 13.1 miles weeks and weeks in the future, but you don't really think about the 100s that you will run before getting to that date. YIKES! What have I done. I can't even run around the block. And this proved to be TRUE for 4 solid weeks of trying! I kept telling myself every single day that all I can do is try. If February 5th comes and I cannot run on the pavement, I will know I tried to every single day until that day. I went to the gym and ran 4 miles every day and then I hit the streets each night trying to do anything... something! My little stems just hated the great outdoors. My shins screamed! My ankles screamed... I sounded like I had asthma and had lost my inhaler months ago. But every single night I tried. I would see fat people running and point and say "Look... they can do it...and it looks like it's easy for them." I started working out with a hard, foam roller (an evil evil tool) that eventually became my best friend. And I still have my two bags of frozen peas in the freezer that I use most nights on my legs. I was starting to become a bit depressed about my progress and my training schedule was looming large on the fridge.
And what the hell was I thinking with training in the coldest part of the year? Had I lost my mind? I know there are some of my friends that are still questioning my sanity.
SO... I signed up for my first (I say first because I'd love to grow and love this sport and go on to become a rock star like some of my friends) half marathon. I signed up on October 12th. As of now I have completed 4 weeks of my training schedule. It's been BRUTAL! I keep asking people if this is going to get easier? Even a little bit easier? I want to be one of those people out there that look like they're enjoying themselves. Instead I am focused on my midfoot strike... and keeping my body in line and trying to become a stomach breather instead of wheezing from my chest. I'm trying to find the perfect layering combination so I don't freeze my ass off. And mostly I'm just wanting to stick to the plan. Because they say if you stick to the plan you can do it. I have enough of a "anal retentive" streak to follow simple instructions to a T, so the plan is working for me. I am working off the Hal Higdon's Half Marathon Training plan for beginners. It seems pretty workable if you are in semi-fit condition. Luckily my cardio fitness is pretty good.
I laughed in the new book that I am reading The Nonrunners Marathon Guide for Women. She writes that one of her first stops is to see the Shoe People at the running store for gear. And after dropping about four thousand dollars she is ready to train. She is joking of course but I was laughing because getting ready (especially for winter training) is not a cheap endeavor. There are shoes, and pants (special wool ones that don't weigh you down or freeze your ass off) and there are jackets... and vests... and coats if it's snowy... and hats and headbands... and gloves and sports bras designed so I don't get a black eye while doing all this bouncing...and my nifty new GPS app on my iPhone. There is a LOT of gear! My bedroom is now littered with so much running stuff it's funny!
Mostly I've just been running in my neighborhood. It's pretty (as it can be at this time of year) and I'm not too far from home. And... to try and get me in the racing mode, I've signed up for my first 5K... and I've talked several people into doing this crazy ass thing with me. I do have some good friends! That's for sure! Why else would you pay money to run in below freezing temperatures when you are the type who can run half marathons in a blink of an eye? GOOD friends do this shit with you! And even friends who don't even run but they want to spend time with you doing what you are trying to do. I have great friends!
One day while trying out my new shoes I started down this hill toward home. I'm not doing well, my legs are screaming and I am ready to abort the run. As I am jogging down the hill, I slowed down my pace and all of a sudden it clicked.... Nothing is hurting... I'm JOGGING!!! I turned a corner and kept on running! It's WORKING!!! I haven't been back on the treadmill since! I still have to walk up the hills most of the time, but I'm running OUTSIDE!!!
A week to my first 5K! I've been running outside and I'm going further than 5K on most runs so I'm stoked for my first race. Woohooo!