Workin’ hard for my money…

I spent this past Sunday morning like any other morning: woke up after 4 hours of sleep from the rap-session/Will and Grace marathon extravaganza the night before, had a cup of coffee while chatting on the couch with Poodle (my friend Lyndsey), checked facebook posts from the night before, updated my status, signed up for a marathon….you know, the usual….

wait, WHAT?

If you hadn’t stopped reading when you saw the words “rap-session” (which, I don’t blame you…I’m more white than chocolate!), then you might have noticed the other word: marathon. That’s right, people….I’m running a marathon in November!

Ever since I recovered from my broken back in 2008, and ever since I realized that I no longer had to run like someone was chasing me (i.e. in a soccer game), I started to slow my pace, and focus on the enjoyment of running. It wasn’t easy at first, a few miles here and there…I’d still begin the run at a sprint, like I was so used to, my legs and mind telling me to “GO HARD! FINISH STRONG! IF YOU DON”T MAKE THE TIME YOU HAVE TO RUN IT AGAIN!” Yes, it was just like that too…all caps…screaming letters in my head, telling me to run faster, move quicker. Oh, and what’s the deal with making someone run again RIGHT after if they don’t make their time? Do you reallllly think they’ll make it the next time? It’s like charging someone a fee for not having enough funds in their account…”Hey, I’m going to make you pay 75 dollars, since you only have 20!”

Dumb, just dumb.

Sorry, let’s get back to a good place here, shall we?

In the beginning, I still didn’t understand the term “jog”, and would all-out-sprint for a couple of miles, stopping at the end, looking at my watch and going, “Okay, that was 13 minutes…now what? I was supposed to run for 30 minutes!” I eventually got to a place where I could comfortably jog (read: 8:30-9 min miles) for about 4-6 miles. After getting to that place, and seeing the benefits of my running (toned calves! better endurance! thunder thighs shrinking!…well…not quite yet…:)), I upped the mileage. Then, one day, running became fun. I’m not sure when that day was, and I can’t remember exactly the moment it happened, but all of a sudden, I just started enjoying myself. I would create playlists of songs on my ipod, and take off on a run, pounding the pavement while jamming to my latest tunes. During those runs, thoughts or struggles slipped out of my mind, left in the dust of my Sauconys. I would forget about my day and focus on adding one more mile to my route. Other times, I would slip on my kicks and take off in the park, people watching while I did my laps. It was MY time, my own personal therapy session. I was hooked.

I began to play with the numbers, and finally, one hot summer day, I got to 10 miles. I’ll never forget that. I had only planned on doing about 6 that day, but midway through, I lost track of time (or sweat got in my eyes…not sure) and I forgot to check my distance on my watch. Exhausted from being outside for so long, I finally made it home, only to look at my watch and read 10 instead of 6….it was an accidental break through, and I couldn’t have been happier! Double Digits Baby!

After that freak of nature 10 miler, I knew I could do more. 11…..13….15….and eventually 20. As the mileage creeped up, so did the comments:

“I’m sorry…you ran HOW much?”

“Are you training for something?”

“Are you crazy?”

“Have you thought about doing a marathon?”

That last question stuck with me. Even though I’d laugh, shrug, and pass off my new-found hobby as nothing more than just that, a hobby, I started to think maybe I could do something more? I was used to competition, I had been bred for it my entire life. I knew the knots-in-my-stomach all too well. I had the “how to fuel before a workout” speech engrained in my mind. So after having done just a few 5k’s here and there, and one 8 mile fun run, I finally bit the bullet and signed up for a half. I ran the Dallas Rock n’ Roll Half in March of this year, and LOVED it!

I ran the race with a friend of mine, Angela. We both went into it with the intention to just run. Not race. Not make a certain time. Just run. Well, after about mile 5, the adrenaline kicked in and I started to run faster. And faster. I kept going right through the finish line, ending in an all out sprint. IT.WAS.UH-MAZING. I finished about 2000th out of 10,000 runners, which for my first timed race, I was very happy about.

So what now?

Well, true to my addictive personality traits, I was already thinking about more. I wanted to feel that high again, experience the rush of passing through a finishing corral to the cheers of hundreds of spectators. And I also wanted to go farther. I had run 20 miles before…so why not a marathon?

Fast forward to San Blas, at the Blanda family reunion 2011….my mom’s youngest brother, Steve, and his wife Amy, are running nuts…combined they’ve run countless marathons, half marathons, and tri’s. So naturally, while at the beach, we went on a few running jaunts together, enjoying each other’s company while talking about various races we wanted to do or had done recently. One of the recurring topics was the Savannah Rock n’ Roll marathon coming up this November. Both Steve and Amy had registered to run, and spent most of the trip trying to convince me to fly out and join them. After talking it over, figuring out logistics, and consulting my fan base (aka my family), I decided that Savannah, GA would be too expensive…but why not San Antonio?? That race was the next weekend, and being in my home state, travel would not be as expensive. Upon hearing my desire to run, my parents booked a hotel and my sister and BIL signed up to walk/run the half….I’m sorry…what just happened? I hadn’t even registered yet, and already my family had made plans to join me in the festivities. Talk about motivation!

Which brings me to Sunday. The day I went online, paid my $102 dollar fee, and registered for the San Antonio Rock n’ Roll marathon on November 13, 2011.

The plan now is to buy a new pair of running shoes (my current pair allows you to view my socks through part of the toe…yeah, they’ve been through a lot), and start a training plan. I’m not really one for structure, since my entire life used to be set on a very strict schedule, so I figure as long as I get some good long runs in, as well as some interval training and speed work, I should be fine. I mean, the day before I ran that 20 miles, I drank 2 margaritas and stayed up till midnight. And I still did a 9 min mile average.

I have no expectations for this race, except to not die. 26.2 miles is VERY daunting. My hope is just to finish, and finish with my breakfast still in tact in my stomach. Oh, and to have fun. 🙂

Because running is all about fun…right? 😉

Ever trained for a marathon? Tri? 5k? Have any horror stories??

hearts and happy feet hugs,

B.

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