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Archive for the ‘Running’ Category

The Race is On

This just in: I am now just over 10 weeks away from completing my certificate course in technical communication… And I couldn’t be more stressed, exhausted, or high-strung. But. With all of that said, I’m a pleased to report that I am still running.

Sort of.

Many of you know that I am a newly ‘minted’ runner. I successfully completed my first race, a 10K, on May 29th. And since then, I’ve been running here and there, sort of willy-nilly, whenever the spirit moved me. And that’s been fun and somewhat relaxing… But lately, I realized that what I was really doing was allowing myself to be lazy. The excuses started flying off my shelf… Since I wasn’t training for a run, you name it – I used it. “I’m too tired.” “It’s too hot.” “I’m too busy.” These all became acceptable reasons to simply lace up my shoes, take off for a few easy minutes, and come home. Not to mention that my running several times a week, became running a few times a week, became running (hopefully) sometime this week. LAZY.

I have said from the beginning that I love to run. But now more than ever, as I’m flying so high and so fast, I need to run. It’s the only activity that I have found (besides writing) that truly lets me shut off my to-do lists, ignore my inner-critic, and silence my worry wart. I put on my shoes, hook up my music, and leave it all behind for a little while.

So, I got to wondering the other day how I’d find a way to get back to running like a real runner should, since there are no races currently in my sights. And then it hit me: Just because I’m not signed up for a run, doesn’t mean I can’t train for one! So I did some research and I thought about what my next running milestone might look like. And fairly quickly, I was hit by the idea that I wanted to run a half-marathon; if not in “race”, at least in distance. I found a non-crazy-person 10 week training schedule, printed it out, hung it up on my calendar hook, and have begun my quest for my half.

In the next 10 weeks, I will learn how to run 13.1 miles, or 21.1 kms. On paper, the numbers look ridiculous. Who runs 21 kilometers for fun? Who runs 21 kilometers, period!? Well, apparently, I will. And to be quite honest, I can’t wait.  And although I’ve only just started following my new training plan, it feels so good to be running with purpose again.

Curiously, the running program is 10 weeks long. And it’s no small coincidence, in my opinion, that my certificate will also be complete in 10 weeks. Perhaps this is my race to the finish lines of my schooling and the next phase of my running? Who knows.

But the race is on.

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One Step At A Time

As many of you know, I ran my first 10k today. And I’m pleased to report that I did it in 1:09:54. I didn’t break any records – but I had an amazing time. And before I go too much farther, a HUGE thank you to all the volunteers who helped make the day possible, and congratulations to everyone who ran today. You (we) did it!

It was an incredible experience. My day started at 4:15am, with an alarm reminder that it was race day. Jack (my cat) and I got up, plodded downstairs, and had breakfast and a quick cup of coffee. I walked through my garden a couple of times, reminded myself why I was doing this (again), and went back upstairs. A quick shower, a high ponytail, and a few yoga poses later, I was ready to roll!

My wonderful husband got up shortly thereafter and we went to the venue. Don’t get me wrong, I fully expected a crowd. But holy SMOKES! There were thousands of people there! And the energy in the air was amazing. I met up with my sister (who continues to inspire me by running the 1/2 marathon) and my friend (whom I was grateful to see and looking forward to running with) and continued to marvel at the fact that I was actually doing this. But before I had much more time to sit and ponder, it was time to go.

The run itself was really good. Energy, positivity, and good vibes were coming from all sides. Not to mention some incredibly inspiring and motivational athletes around me. I felt pretty good, and even ran the entire distance. And 10k and blur of time later, I crossed the finish line at 1:14:18.

Did I beat a personal best time? No. Did I win the race? Haha – not even close. But did I meet and exceed a very important personal goal, while having a great time, on a beautifully sunny day? Absolutely.

Six months of hard work, training, and perseverance really paid off today. And most importantly, I was fortunate enough to remind myself that I can do anything that I put my mind to.

One step at a time.

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A Gentle Reminder

I can hardly believe it – but in five short days I’ll be running my first ever 10k race. And right on time, my pre-race jitters begun to set in.

As I posted back in January when my adventure began – “I am running this race for me, to say that “I did ” it…I will finish the race, I will acknowledge what participating in the race mans to me, and I will be proud that I have made the full circle of being back to being ME.”

In the last few months, the more I trained, the more this goal became lost to me. I slowly started to love running in a way I never thought I would. I got fitter, faster, healthier. My stamina improved and my form improved. And I began to think of running the race as more of an actual race and less of a personal life accomplishment. I began to worry more about time goals and race goals, and remember less about the real ‘why’ I was doing this.

In the last few weeks, I’ve had a few setbacks. I am experiencing runner’s growth (the term I’ve coined for when your body realizes that you aren’t quitting anytime soon and throws up resistance in the forms of aches and pains) in both my hips, and most recently, my knee. These little issues allowed my negative inner critic and my doubting self-image to creep in and gain some footholds. I started worrying that if I wasn’t going to meet or exceed my time goals, I shouldn’t bother.

Lucky for me, I have an incredible support system of people around me. That support system has been working overtime to encourage me and remind me, gently and often, of the reasons why I’m running. There is a song by Melissa Etheridge that I sometimes listen to when I run, called ‘I Run for Life’. And although I am so blessed that the premise of the song (surviving cancer) doesn’t apply to me, the very basest level of the words do:

I run for hope
I run to feel
I run for the truth
For all that is real
I run for life

It is a beautiful song and an incredible reminder that I have been on a journey for the last six months, which although it began with the goal of a race, it is not going to end after the race is run. Thank you to those who believe in me. I will run this race and I will make you all proud.

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The Beauty of a Run

Awhile ago, I posted about signing up for my first ever road race – a 10k on May 29th.  Two months into my training, I’ve learned a few very interesting things about running, and about myself.

I have always loved running. The better I get at it, the more freeing I find it. There is something beautiful about throwing on a pair of shoes and taking off. Running a very fluid activity (except on the days where I feel like a refrigerator with feet) and I find it very freeing. I can ‘run’ away from the stress, the confusion, the strain, and the burden of my day, and onto a path that has only the directions and timelines that I choose.

I’m also discovering that running is one of the few things I find unbelievably challenging and unspeakably rewarding at the same time. Almost every time I go for a run, something goes squirrely. My knees hurt a bit, my hips are tight, my lungs act up, or I get a stitch. And I think – oh, hell. Can’t I just have a run?! Please!! But I push it out, one way or another, and I always end up having a great run. What a feeling of accomplishment! I am learning where my boundaries are, but more importantly, where they are not.

I think the most important thing that I’ve learned so far, is how much I love to run with a friend. My sister, who is an incredible runner and athlete, and whom I’m proud to call my friend, is helping me train. Once a week we get together and we run. Hills, neighborhoods, stairs, river banks – we just go. On today’s run, we saw a horned owl in a tree and stopped running, right there on the spot, for about three minutes. We stood together watching the owl, while the owl watched us. It was beautiful.  And it was one of the best parts of my day.

To sum up, two months into running – it’s a beautiful thing. I love the way it feels to pound my feet into the pavement. I love the way I feel when I’ve run a distance I’ve never achieved before or a pace I thought was impossible a few weeks ago.

And most of all, I just love to run. Completely. Simply. I enjoy the beauty of a run.

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Going For It!

One of my new year’s un-resolutions was to sign-up for and run in a 10K race – my first race ever. I took a huge step towards that goal today and I registered for the Calgary Marathon 10K race on May 29th. Yikes!

For me, registration means two things:

1. No backing out. I’m registered – I’m in. That’s it. End of story.

2. Half my battle. I am a fan of procrastination. By avoiding registration, I could avoid training, committing, and planning… And it meant that I could say “I’m sick, tired, sore, too busy…” to get out of doing this race or any of the training along the way.

I am running this race for me, to say that “I did ” it. Registering brought me back to over four years ago, when I was about 50 pounds heavier, extremely sedentary, and feeling pretty sorry for myself. I didn’t exercise, I ate junk… and I blamed the world and the people around me for my issues. I have always LOVED to run – but when I was so heavy, I could not. Physically – I could not. I tried, and I got terrible shin splints which required an MRI, days off of work, and serious rehab.

Today, I don’t remember what it was that started me back on track. But I do remember, very well, the daily battle I fought (and the daily decisions I still make) to get back into shape; to be healthy; to get back to being me. I remember the love and support of those around me – the same love and support I know I can count on as I start to train for and run this race.

Most of all, I remember the countless times along the way that I said “I can’t do this… I can’t lose weight… I’ll never be fit again. I’ll never run again!” And yet, day by day, little by little… And here I am, getting ready for my first 10K!

I would be lying if I said that I don’t have any goals for the race. In a perfect world, I will run the whole distance in one hour (ish). However, in that same perfect world, I will finish the race, I will acknowledge what participating in the race mans to me, and I will be proud that I have made the full circle of being – back to being ME.

Maybe this will be the start of something bigger for me…I don’t know yet. But I am going for it!

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