Wednesday, July 7, 2010

It Hurts So Good

136 Days To Go
Despite my brief hiatus from blogging, I did participate in my first 5k as an adult with some of my favorite girlfriends last weekend. I ran a 5k many moons ago as a teenager, back when sleeping was optional and eating a greasy hamburger was just a snack before dinner was ready. Anyhow, here's what I learned from the experience, I am no longer a teenager and preparation is necessary. I know, here I go again with the nostalgic lessons of being an adult. What can I say? It's another lesson on this journey. I was a little over-confident in my capabilities as a runner and not only did I miss running two days before the race, I also arrogantly attended a close friend's 80's prom-themed birthday bash the night before (included a picture for fun). I'm not sure if it was the black-lace fingerless gloves or the side ponytail that left me feeling as if I had enough energy to blast me through the night and well into the next morning's race. I relished having a babysitter at home and danced the night away to Debbie Gibson, Michael Jackson, and Tiffany. And the next day, only two words to describe the next day: Lesson learned.

I finished the race on four hours sleep and with a time of 31: 15. Not my best time, not my worst. I felt like I had ran twice the distance when I was done and found myself extremely fatigued, hungry, and sore all in mile one. Not a big motivating force when I am looking down the tunnel at 13.1 miles in less than five months. I think I was a bit crestfallen when all was said and done and am just now, three long days later, jumping back into my running shoes.
Over the last few days I contemplated what I would write about for this blog post. I didn't want to post another 'Woe is Me' entry and dwell on my mishaps and stumbles. It was during this morning's run, a begrudging run in which I fought an ugly internal battle about getting out there and completing it, that the distant memories of my fondness of running quickly returned. When my little man woke up an hour and a half later than usual, I tried to use the excuse of it being too hot to run. I resentfully forced myself into my gear, strapped the little guy in his seat, and pushed my jogger stroller outside... Here's a sound byte from the internal dialogue that followed: "IPod? Check. Water for me? Check. Sippy cup for monkey? Check. Stroller Fan? Crap! The batteries are dead! It's probably too hot to run without his stroller fan, right? Maybe I should skip today. Go to the gym? Start over again tomorrow?" (I've been using that last line for the past three days.) Finally, the restless runner on my left shoulder hurled a shoe at the lazy, hungry, tired bum on my right shoulder and I dismissed all the excuses I could come up with and just ran. Almost instantly after I picked up my feet after a warm-up walk, the sweat began to emerge, the push of my breath struggling to gain a steady in-out pattern erupted, and the all together slight uncomfortableness that running brings began to intrude my entire body. And it was welcomed. Truly welcomed! It's amazing how this whole running thing works. I dread going. I dread getting ready to go. I dread getting started. And many times during the run, I dread completing the run. But I push through the uncomfortableness and at the other end an unexplainable sense of fulfillment fuels me and I remember why I chose this particular activity for my bucket list accomplishment. It hurts so good.

I'll close this by saying I have realized that I blog less when I feel I have less to brag about. That said, to play a mental mind game on myself - I vow to post an update at least every three days for the next month. Don't worry, I don't expect anyone to anxiously anticipate my verbal diarrhea of what I've run, what I haven't, blah, blah, blah. It's simply a motivator for me to remind myself I am right in the thick of this personal challenge I have made so public and it's time to keep pressing forward - full speed ahead.

Lesson of this Last Week: Preparation, Preparation, Preparation. I am not above it.

Challenge of the Week: Remembering the good that running brings, even when a bag of Doritos and a nap sounds waaay better. Running feels way better.

Power Song of Last Week: Sisters of Avalon by Cyndi Lauper. I just feel 'girl power' when I hear this. Another throwback to the eighties, I guess.


jennifer said...

I completely understand what you mean when you talk about dreading running and all the preparation that goes with it. As I type this, I have been battling with myself to go ahead and get my clothes laid out tonight so that I don't have any excuses in the morning. My feet feel so heavy while I am making myself do anything involving running preparation. And sometimes when I'm in the middle of a run, I feel trapped and suckered into it and wonder why I keep doing this to myself. But you're also right about that unexplainable drive to keep going that just seems to come out of nowhere. Nothing feels better after I do it than running! Its the strangest darn thing.
Good luck, I think you're doing great, and your blog has become an inspiration to me. I actually took the plunge and signed up for a half-marathon taking place on October 24th. I just realized that my race is before yours and I'm nowhere near the fitness level that you are yet! Oh, well- all I can do is my best.

Kimmie said...

just read this entry and your last. your so talented! i love your writing skills and your determination. you are doing wonderfully and you are going to be more than ready when that 13.1 miles is staring you in the face!

Andrea Leigh said...

Jennifer, your words are so kind. I think we are entitled to days of feeling a bit hopeless. I think that it is the whole "challenge" part of this journey. The important thing is we overcome and perservere. You are doing a great job! I have no doubt you will be ready for that half in October. I am definitely taking the long road. I think most people don't take 200 days to train, but it's just what felt right for me. So, your right, all you can do is your best. And in the end...walk, run, or crawl - just say you did it!

Kimmie, I love you! Thanks for being such a great friend throughout this journey. And, hey, there is a 5k you can participate in during the St.Pete half...I think you should do it!! xxoo