Wednesday, August 31, 2011


TGTRIO - Thank god that run is over. Seriously. I knew from the very beginning it was going to be a struggle. I woke up a half hour later than I usually do, and as silly as that sounds, something that minor can throw my entire day off. The plan was to do 5 miles today - 5 miles doesn't scare me anymore. It's totally doable. But after waking up late, and seeing how overcast it was outside, I started debating over whether or not I really needed to run today. When that starts to happen, I think about what my wise friend, Tara, one of the people that has inspired me to run, told me once: You will always regret not running, but NEVER regret it when you do. (I'm paraphrasing...Tara, correct me if I just slaughtered what you said...). I knew if I didn't run, I would walk around all day feeling like I had let myself down, like I didn't get anything accomplished. So, on went the running clothes, shoes and hat, and all the gear I run with.

Since it rained last night, and due to rain off and on all day, the air was cool, but heavy. That always makes me feel like I'm carrying extra weight, and I really have to pay attention to breathing right. I started out and my legs felt tired as well. Ugh. I decided to shake things up a bit and divert a little from my usual route. I love running on the Monon Trail here in Indy. It's a beautiful wide, paved, wooded trail that goes all throughout Indy and the surrounding towns. As far as I know, it's all flat, which after living in hilly TN, is a nice change. But I need some hills. Just outside my  old neighborhood in TN, we had a hill that became known as "Sam Donald Hill" (Sam Donald was the road). In my head, it was also known as "that Mother F*%#ing Hill" - it was steep and seemed to be a neverending climb. Many times, the Hill broke me, and I would end a perfectly good run by having to walk up it, and then I would be angry. As time went on though, I learned to tell myself to just put one foot in front of the other, quit looking how far is left, and I would make it up the Hill. Running. And when I would reach the top, despite panting, fighting the urge to vomit, and feeling like all the blood in my body was in my head, I would let out a weak "Woot!" So, when I diverted from my usual run on the flat Monon Trail today, I took a road that seemed to be hilly. And it was. I found my "Mother F*%#ing Hill" out here in IN.

Happy to say, I did make it up the hills (there is a small hill, and a large one - the MoFo Hill), but my legs were screaming at me. I made the turn to head back to my neighborhood when I looked down at Garmin and wanted to cry...2.7 miles. NO!! I was sure I had run 3.7 miles - only 2.7?? Crap. I told myself I had to listen to my body and just take it easy the rest of the way. There were times I felt like I was walking a fast pace or doing a super slow jog, but when I checked Garmin, it said I was running a 8:53/mile. Huh? I would tell myself to slow down again...Garmin said 9:02/mile. Folks, I'm usually at a 9:22 to 9:30/mile pace. I ended up finishing 5 miles in 45:15 - I think that's the fastest 5 miles I've ever done. But I wasn't trying - remember, this run felt like a struggle! I don't know what was going on - sure, it's cool that I went faster than usual, but I honestly worry about doing that during the half and burning out quickly. Hmmm...I don't usually even watch my pace, I've never done speed drills and don't think I ever will. I mainly enjoy seeing how far I can go, and I'll check pace at the end of the run out of curiousity. I watched it this run to make myself take it easy. I guess my legs had a different plan!

Off to shower. And by the tired as my legs are, as relieved as I am that the run is over, no regrets. Now, need to focus on getting my day back on schedule!

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Am I A Runner?

Running. I've never considered myself a runner. I would never say "I'm going out for a run". I was more of a "wogger" - I'd jog, walk, jog, walk...I was close to being a runner in my mid-twenties. I'd go out and jog around the neighborhood of East Hill in Pensacola when I was home, or jog on the treadmill at one of the hotels on a layover if I was flying. I never took it serioulsy. It was something to do, and a way to burn off calories, as I was all about body image back then ("omg, I ate a whole meal last night, I'm going to get HUGE!"...yea, it was bad). Then I got married, and had the girls. I bought the jogging stroller, and did take the girls out in it a lot, but not running. Just for long walks. I LOVE being outdoors, and I do love being in shape. Can't say I was in great shape, but I stayed active.

There are several reasons as to why I suddenly took an interest in running. I watched as a couple friends, who weren't in great shape, took up running out-of-the-blue. I listened as they talked about mileage, pace, endurance...I was in awe of their excitement and their will to get better and better. I saw their pictures of reaching the finish line at a race, and wearing the medals they had worked so hard for. When was the last time I had reached a goal like that? When was the last time I had a challenge I worked hard for? I started getting on my treadmill more, and ran around the neighborhood whenever the weather was nice. Every once in a while, I would pass one of my neighbors/friends - one of the people that had taken up running out-of-the-blue and was now a half-marathoner. We would talk about running whenever we saw each other and she was very encouraging. One day, she suggested I run a 5k, even found one for me and told me she would run it as well. Fine...I'll do it. I was only doing 2.25 miles on the treadmill, but I was certain I was running over 3 miles on my route around the neighborhood. It had to be 3 miles because I was panting, sweating gallons and about to fall over from exhaustion when I reached my house - surely, it was an insane distance I was running.


Ray and I drove my neighborhood route one day and I was in shock when the odometer read "2.23 miles". That's it? That's the distance that was making me so tired and wasted? I was completely deflated. But not deterred. I started listening and reading more about how to run, how to pace yourself, how to build up endurance, finding the right shoes and clothes, etc. I think a major turning point was buying a Garmin - how else was I going to know when I finally reached that magical 3 miles? Several running friends told me running with a Garmin would change everything, and it did. I would go for a run, look down and see my distance - I ran that far?! Next run - I ran that far?!! Next run - omg, I ran THAT far?!!! I was so amazed, I would take pictures and send them to Ray.

I began to run that magical distance (in my head) of 3 miles on a regular basis, and got to the point where I could do it comfortably. The beginning of March, I ran that 5k and had fun doing it. I had fun running. And I was running! The greatest feeling was that I had challenged myself to do something, and I did it. I face challenges everyday - be a good parent, a good wife - and I love that, but challenges in running are physical and mental in a different way. A way that I haven't been challenged in years, and it's exciting. I never, never ever, thought I could run 3.1 miles, yet after that race and the thrill of reaching my goal, I began to dream bigger. My friend mentioned a half marathon one day and I laughed. As much as I started to dream bigger, I was thinking more like, oh say 5 miles. A half marathon is 13.1 have to run over two hours (at my speed)...well, maybe. I decided to make it my goal for 2012 - I would say goodbye to my thirties with a half.

But then...


I found myself going farther and farther, building up endurance and feeling great while doing so. I began to incorporate all the nutritional tips I was reading, drinking water, proper stretches - it truly blew me away that all this work and research was paying off. When I had my first run that lasted over an hour, I couldn't believe it!! That was something I thought I would never achieve - starting out in January, my 2.23 mile route took me half an hour, and I ended utterly exhausted. Several running friends encouraged me again to try a half...I decided I could do it, and not have to wait for 2012.

Knowing we were going to move to Indianapolis, my neighbor recommended a half out here in October, and when I read about it, it sounded like the perfect first half marathon race. The race is capped at 6,000 entrants - still a lot of people, but not the 50,000+ some races have! I began my official training four weeks ago, and have logged over 60 miles. I have good runs and bad runs. Lots of mental sabotage on those bad runs...need to stop that. I'm keeping my eye on the prize...crossing that finish line at the half. I have to say I'm proud of myself for how far I've come, and I'm still in awe that I'm even here and entertaining the idea of a half. Another challenging aspect of this race is doing it by myself. I LOVE running by myself, omg, it's the best! I love being out in nature, listening to my music or just being lost in thought, and I always end up saying a prayer because I feel so blessed when I run. Good or bad run, I come home peaceful and thankful. But, the actual race part of running, not to mention the culture of runners, is still so new to me and I tend to feel like a poser. I'm nervous about the logistics of the race, and would love to have an experienced runner there to show me around! I'm not going to let that stop me though - I'm 38, and it's about time I stopped being so self-conscious and insecure. I guess that'll be Challenge #2  on Oct. 15!

So yes, Oct. 15 is the big day and it's always in my mind. Running has become so important to me - physically (with all that I eat, I must run!), and mentally (free therapy, no joke) - and I'm so thankful for all the people that inspired me, even if they don't know that they did, and encouraged me. I look forward to that day I put that "13.1" sticker on my car!