Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Look at you go girl!

I have now completed 4 races.  I haven't won anything, I finished dead last in 3 of them but I finished them. 

I ran a 5km three weeks after I started running.  I must have been crazy.  I had only just started running 2 minutes/walking 1 minute.  I felt so terrible to see everyone pass me and to have the 10km racers lap me.  I saw another lady who was a large as I was and thought "I'll be able to keep up with her"......um not so much.  She had obviously been running a lot longer than I had.  I kept my pace, tried not to let the snow and rocky terrain freak me out but I quickly realized that my biggest challenge was going to be my head.  I had to "get out of my own way" as my mom always says.  I got my drink of water at the turn around point (loop course) and started running again.  There is one point in the trail where you come out of the trees and into the open.  There was a lovely lady standing there ringing a cow bell and cheering her lungs out.  I refused to stop and walk in front of her.  (I met this amazing fellow runner months later and was able to thank her for her encouragement)  After passing Andy, I just kept running.  I ran the last 2km of the race straight.  It actually was easier to just keep running.  The thought of stopping to walk terrified me, I was afraid I'd never start again.  As I rounded the last corner there was my running coach and one of the other Yummy Mommies waiting to run the last bit with me.  I felt amazing, exhausted, wobbly kneed and spent, but absolutely friggin fantastic.  I was the last 5km runner to cross the line but I had finished in 50:49. 

My next race was an 8km run in May.  Again I was the very last person across the line, but I discovered they don't start the dinner until the last runner is in :-)  My fellow Mommies came out to run the last bit in with me.  It was amazing.

My biggest race so far was a 10km at the Johnny Miles Marathon.  It was a terrible race, the weather alternated between hot and muggy and pouring buckets of rain.  I didn't run it as well as I wanted to but I was shocked and amazed to discover that I had beaten my own estimate of my finish time by 8 minutes!!!  I had run what I thought was 10km 2 weeks before (turned out it was closer to 11...ooops) in 1:49.  I figured a good finish time would be 1:45.  I actually completed the run in 1:37.  It felt so good to achieve that goal.  Well not just achieve it but blow it out of the water!!!

My most recent race was Sunday when I "Ran for the Lobsters".  I did the 5km this time with one of the other members of our group with me as a ghost runner and pace setter.  I achieved a personal best of 43:34.  It was a far cry from my first run 7 months ago.

My next goal is another 10km in October and I'm looking to get my time down to 1:25.  Definitely doable!!

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Can I really do this?

“Breathe out the bad, let in the good.”  That’s what my running coach Carla says.  As I plod along I try to keep this idea at the front of my brain.  It has lots of company.  There’s the “one more step, one more step” litany, the “why do I seem to hunch to my left, stand up straight for God’s sake!” , the “am I ever going to get any faster?”, and of course the “WHAT THE HELL AM I DOING THIS TO MYSELF FOR?????”

It’s a wonder I can run at all with all that swirling around.  I should be dizzy.  But run I do.

I’ve always wanted to be a runner, but being obese my entire adult life, I have never entertained the possibility.  I dreamed of that feeling of freedom, of being able to run forever, like I felt when I was young.  I felt like running would be the ultimate achievement.

So here I was, 36 years old, 255 lbs, mother of 3 kids, ages 11, 8, and 6 months.  I was defeated by life.  Thank goodness I went to the library that day.  There I met the most amazing group of ladies.  We all have kids (little ones at least) around the same age.  Alyssa and Kaitlyn invited me for coffee and to my surprise I said yes.  I’m normally a shy person but with the big kids back in school I was starting to go a little stir crazy.  I was craving some adult conversation. 

We went to a local coffee shop, where another mom, Carla, met up with us.  We talked kids, husbands, work, sleep (or lack thereof) all the things that get discussed whenever you put a couple of moms together.  One topic of conversation however excluded me.  They were discussing their runs the night before and an upcoming race that some of them were going to participate in.  I was fascinated but scared.  This seemed to be an important thing to them and it was something I could never do.  My own insecurities were screaming at me that these ladies wouldn’t want me around if I wasn’t  a runner, not only not a runner but a fat girl too.

A few weeks passed and every week it was the same.  We would meet for coffee after the baby’s library time and the topic of conversation would always turn to running.  Kaitlyn especially was encouraging, drawing me into the discussion.  She and Alyssa were really frank about the fact that 4 months earlier they had never run a step in their life. They had gradually worked up to the point they were at now.  They all invited me to join them next time they went for their weekly run.

I was never more nervous in my life.  I was terrified I wouldn’t be able to do it.  I was a fat, out of shape blob.  The thought of running an entire minute was not even in the realm of possibility.  I was so scared in fact that I went out the day before and tried to run one minute, walk a minute and it was BRUTAL!  But for the first time in my life I didn’t just give up. 

I went the next night and Carla “ran” with me.  I put the word ran in quotes because I was very , very, very slow.  By the end of the 20 minutes (seriously only 20 minutes???!!) I was spent.  I really thought I was going to die.  Apparently you are supposed to feel like you are going to puke after a run.

I did it.  Nowhere to go from here but up :-D