It’s been a few weeks since I posted but it’s been busy with the holidays. I have already gotten 2016 off to a great start by signing up for my first race in Feb. this is a milestone for me in two ways. First I have not run a late winter race before but also I have not been this proactive in starting the racing season. I have also identified all the races I want to run this next year which also include a full marathon in October. Now, this does not mean i’m going to actually sign up for it yet…I don’t know if I’m that brave but do believe that I am which means that I am leaning more to doing it than not. I plan to do some serious commitment to researching marathons but my brain has already started wrapping itself around the fact that slowing down will be pinnacle to finishing and that fast is not part of a first marathon plan. I think I’m just scared of the commitment and having no one to train with. I mean i have joined a running group but they run long runs on Saturday and I run them on Sunday. my sons are still in High School and we are buys all year round especially on Saturdays which is when my group runs. I guess ultimately it comes down to my willingness to run on Saturdays or find another group that better fits my needs. Choices. Since I do not feel pressured to make any kind of decision right now, I will sit on this for a bit letting it marinate in my mind. I want to, really I do. I just wish it were an easier implementation. Maybe I have to wait. Maybe I have to make some changes. Maybe both. I’m one step closer to making the commitment than i was last year. I feel better about where I am. I am trying harder to add in weight training and other things like Yoga that I know will build up the parts of me that aren’t in the best shape. Now I just need to take the big leap and settle in for the long haul. Time to make buck up and put my big girl pants on! LOL
Yesterday I went for one of my post season runs. I have run almost as much this week since my “season” ended than I did during a training week. I find that so funny but running is necessary in my world for many reasons. I have tossed the idea of doing a full marathon now for about a year with some seriousness just shy of signing up. Yesterday I realized that part of my hesitation is a self imposed goal. Now goals are great but this one feels like it is misplaced. It is most likely a doable goal but one that is from the future. I have set my head around a 4 hour marathon time. First off I am not that fast even when I was running sub 9 minute miles regularly. Having dropped to on average 9:15-9:23 puts that just about off my radar. As I ran yesterday I kept my pace at a breathable level. Somewhere around 9:23 lets me breathe and really to enjoy the run. So many days I am rushing my pace and pushing myself to hit that 9:00 mm mark. That was good for race training but for longer distances I think I want to slow it down so I can enjoy it. I planned 3 miles yesterday but as I ran at my slower pace I let the road lead me through 4.76 miles that were much easier and quite enjoyable. That’s where I like to be and how I like to run. That is the place that will lead me through my first 26.2 and make it an incredible journey. That is what I need to embrace to get there so that is what I shall do. I can’t really convey here how awesome my run was but if you are reading this and you know running, you also know that there are a lot of factors that make up any one given run. To say that a run was awesome you know that sometimes it’s the weather. Sometimes it’s new gear and sometimes it’s just accepting something that you have been fighting for a while. Once I stopped pushing and started enjoying, 4.76 was easy and left me wanting to try 7 or 10 with the same mindset. If I can do 10 and feel like I can do more rather than begging for the end of my run, then I will step into a brand new realm of running that may take me to places that only those I have admired in the past have been. Feeling sad that today is an off day but knowing it needs to be, I am looking forward to what tomorrow morning may find me accomplishing. So my first marathon may not be a sub 4 but who cares but me? Not one person that’s who so let’s see what I can do shall we?
I ran the Black Goose Half Marathon on Sunday November 1st. Now as you know, if you have read my previous posts, this is not my first half. It isn’t my second or third or fourth either. This was my fifth. This one felt like a badge of honor however. It felt like it was all uphill and one giant struggle. It started off ok and I stayed with the 2:00 pace person well enough but by mile 5, I wondered if I was going to finish in a respectable time for me. My legs were killing me. I don’t know if my runners were worn out or if I was just carrying too much body weight or maybe I’m just bloated. All I know is that the big hill at 5 was nothing compared to mile 11 which everyone was talking about at the finish. Other than Lynchburg, this was the toughest race I’ve done. Now it was 13.29 miles which I feel was entirely unfair (LOL) and I did that in 2:04 and change which probably worked out to 2:01 for the 13.1 portion of that. That time is the same time I finished my very first half and given how hard it seemed, I’ll take that as a win! So it’s all good and I’m already thinking about what next year will bring for me. I’ve gone as far as verbally mentioning wanting to run a full to my mentor in my running group so at least someone is aware of what I am thinking about. I can’t hide if someone else knows right? Sandy is super person and in my opinion one of the greatest runners ever. Maybe not because of fame or running a zillion miles or anything more than having run a few marathons and being full of kindness and support. I haven’t known her long but when I finally get off the pot and sign up for a full, Sandy will be the person I engage to get me there. She just ran the Dublin marathon with some of the other members of our group which I think is amazing. So 2015 activities are officially over as far as racing. I did just run ONE this year but it’s at the end just the same. 😀 On to 2016 where my plan right now might find me running 2 halfs by my birthday and then who knows what the fall will hold. Only time will tell how brave I get.
There are not too many days when I run further than I am supposed to outside of under .25 mile. No run is ever exact except on the occasion. Today I decided mid-run to tack on a mile to my run just because it was a wonderful morning and I felt pretty good. Now, going from 3 to 4 isn’t earth shattering but it makes me smile because I put in the additional effort. It’s the little things that make a day happy. If you are struggling for your happy face, put your shoes on, and go out for something….a walk, a run, a job, a bike ride ..whatever. Just go and remember that nothing you don’t want to can ever hurt you if you don’t let it and you can do anything you set your mind to.
We exist in the world we make and we all have bad days and good days because we are human. “It is what it is” is a way of life and a motto that most days I can tolerate and live by. The road I choose can be long or short as long as I accept the road I choose and see it through. Today I chose the long road and it was a good decision. Time, fresh air and a sunrise have a funny way of giving me an emotional cleansing that sets my ship right for the day’s sail. Today my ship was enjoying the sunrise and just motored on through an extra mile. The sunrise was a wonderful canvas that had pink and purple splattered here and there. The air was crisp with pockets of warmth that reminded me of summer nights not so far away. These are the mornings that strengthen me from the inside out and remind me that I am very fortunate in all that I have. Even my heartaches are fortunate lessons that I try to draw understanding from and use to better myself. I am not perfect. Not even close to perfect but that’s the way it should be.
As I run I think about my life and sort through impulsive statements and thoughts that could spell disaster and make realizations that keep me grounded. I am reminded as my feet hit the pavement one in front of the other for many steps that all I can do is control myself. Breathe in the fresh morning air. Breathe out negativity. As the sun rises it drives away many of my shadows of sad/bad/ unhappy thoughts. These are the mornings when I am truly happy to run. I am thankful for all things that grace my life and for the strength to be running when many cannot. I think of my kids many days and how much I love them. They are my reasons for having strength and perseverance and not losing control of myself or making terrible decisions. Now, I don’t bow my head as often as I should, I don’t attend church like I should or tithe regularly …like I said, I am not even remotely in the realm of slightly perfect. I do however, think thanks many times throughout the day, especially when I am out communing with the morning. I run because I say I do, because I can, because I encourage others to do so, because I need to, because I want to, because because because. Mornings like these are my favorite and I love every one of them. I gain perspective out there in the dark all alone just God and me having a chat.
Since I joined my running group I have yet to run with them! Life is really busy these last few Sundays and I just haven’t had the time to get there. This is not to say I haven’t run on Sunday just that I haven’t run with the group. I had an eagle project one weekend and now I have an Eagle Scout. It’s all good but it seems there is suddenly a bunch of life getting in my way.
Keep Going! HAPPY RUNNING!
Yesterday I finally did something new…I joined (in body only) a running group on their weekly run. I have been toying with the idea of joining a running group because I’m toying with the idea of running a full marathon. I know I want help to mentally wrap my mind around that feat and as much as I hate asking for help, I’m surrounding myself with people that I know would support me if I joined their group. Now this would mean adjusting a few things possibly. This group runs long runs on Saturdays which is just really hard for me to do…this means my full marathon may have to wait until Fall 2018 when my last child will graduate. I don’t want to give up being at every game and Saturdays are game days. I’ll work on this as I go BUT for now I took a step in the right direction.
I reached out to the group leader Sandy who invited me to join them. So I decided I should go make some new friends and I did! The group was fun and nice and it was so wonderful to have people to talk to during my run. Sandy, who is one giant muscle and a WAY better runner than I am, stayed with me for all 6 (and one extra) miles. I had 7 to do and she didn’t quit on me just because she was done with what she had to do at that moment. She ran 2 miles to meet the group, 7 miles with me and two more back to her house. Now if that doesn’t seem awesome enough, I’ll just add that she ran 18 on Friday…yep 18. That blows my mind but someday maybe I’ll be amazing someone with my fabulous 18 mile runs too! LOL
Now, the funny thing is that I thought I was soooo slow. I was slow in the sense that this woman probably runs a 7:30 or 8:00 minute mile. She just looks like a runner and I’m sure I dwarfed her just by running next to her. The first two miles were all uphill. Nothing like my Virginia hill but uphill just the same and being a brand new course, those hills tend to be a bit challenging. So I looked up my splits just to see how much I held Sandy back… what to my wondering eyes should appear….
I did not have the horribly slow miles that I envisioned and felt. Mile 2 was definitely the hardest or so it felt but according to Garmin, Mile 4 was slower. What really made me laugh is that mile 5,6 and 7 were quite fast for me. It HAD to be group. So I think I will join this group. They seemed like a group I could be part of and may just be the help I need to “man up” and do the big one. We’ll see.
I am now actively looking for a running group for my long runs. I don’t need the weekday support since those are not bad and in fact I like the me time to reflect on where I’m at for the day / week, whatever. I still have a full on my mind perhaps for next year and pretty much know i do not want to train for a full alone. It isn’t that I feel like I have to have support as much as I really want support around me as I ready myself for such an undertaking. I told someone this week if I ever did it that I’d want to set up 26 friends, one for every mile, to greet me and motivate me on to the next mile. Now I’m not that much of a wimp but I just think that would be so awesome to have a friend to look forward to at every mile marker and then go out to celebrate as a group after the race. In fact I may just do that because it sounds so awesome to me! Anyway, I am pretty sure I’m going to get me a group. I found one I like that isn’t really that far away and I’ve reached out to them to find out if I can “try them out” before joining.
I do know that whenever I’m running and I see another runner, a walker, a dog walker whomever, I feel all this energy and I talk to them and feel great. I wish I had a running partner.
There are only a few people that I would want to run with but life is busy and although they run, they like me, run alone or with those that fit into their schedules. That’s ok. Someday I’ll run into a person or group that will become “my homies” for running. For now I’ll go join another group and see where it takes me. I know that being a part of a group will make training for something as massive as 26.2 miles a little easier. I’m kind of excited about the prospect of finding myself a group because for whatever reason it changes my perspective about accomplishing a full marathon. The only question now would be…..WHICH ONE? I have no desire to run Boston or Chicago or NY. I want something a bit more quaint with less fanfare and truly ….something that I could actually drive to without taking a plane, bus, car, cab and other methods of transportation and without having to stay overnight at a hotel if possible. Isn’t it fun to dream?! I’m at the “I can totally do this man!” stage so I will spend the next few months setting up the plan and 2016 better watch out! Stay tuned because exciting things are coming and in the words of someone I hold great respect, admiration and gratitude for “Expect Great Things” and in my own words “There Are No Excuses!”