The day I decided to be a runner was the day we left our apartment and life in Florida (with my husband flying out of FLL) and I drove 4 hours with three kids and a dog to the north to embark on what would be a 3 month trip and transition to living in the Philadelphia area. The day I decided to be a runner I drank a bottle of wine. The day I decided to be a runner? I probably should not have been making any decisions other than how to walk a dog & take kids to the bathroom singlehandedly at the rest area along the Florida Turnpike. (No being was left in the car, thank you.)
Yet, this is the day I decided to become a runner. Honestly? I blame my cousin who was visiting my sister at our final destination that day. It’s all her fault. She has been CrossFit training for a few years now and was sharing that she’d be in Philly for a Spartan Sprint. I thought that it sounded like a SWELL idea! Note: she was sharing that she would be in town. She wasn’t asking me to join her. I did that all on my own. Wine, really.
Okay. I really shouldn’t blame the wine, stress, or my cousin. Right then and there, we both registered for the Spartan Sprint happening at Citizen’s Bank Park (which we had a Groupon for!) then toasted our excitement for race day with…you guessed it! More wine!
She also shared she’d be back in the Orlando area in 2017 for the Disney Princess Half-Marathon. And you know what I said? I’ll join you! Let’s Do it! Why wouldn’t it make sense that a woman who hasn’t run more than a couple of miles run thirteen and one-tenth miles. 13.1. So, in the matter of what was about an hour, I went from being a non-runner with zero plans to run to a person who was planning on running. For fun.
Training: A Runner was Born (Life: Make a Plan)
I’ve never run a race before. Infact, I had knee surgery eons ago and pretty much used it as an excuse that I can’t run. Well. I no longer believe that I can’t do it. I know I can do it– I just didn’t want to train before. Now I do. I haven’t read a ton on running, though I have two books on hold at the library I can’t wait to get! I’ve watched a few Youtube videos on proper running form. I researched the best running schedule to follow and invested some time, energy and money into making sure that I was meeting dietary needs to support all this extra effort. I’ve also been extremely diligent to take great care of my knees with specific exercises and stretching. Finally, two mornings a week, I wake up at 4am to get a short run in.
None of this has happened overnight or without me thinking about it. Like in life, when you know there is a goal to accomplish, you make plans to get it done. Life can skate by pretty darn quickly (not new information, I know) and it is easy to let life happen to you. By that I mean, your decisions are based on external things, perhaps in your control or not. But to be successful, make progress, have forward momentum, one must decide, plan and follow-through. I can not run 13.1 miles. Yet. But come February, I certainly will feel much more confident in my ability because I have made these small decisions to get me much closer to my goal. I’ve read, and have most definitely experienced, that life is made up of a bunch of seemingly small decisions. Make the most of them!
Injury: Needing to Slow Down (Life: Shit Happens)
Every Saturday we (me & Mike) run a long run. They’ve been going pretty well for me. I use a combination of a run/walk to complete the miles after a certain point. I was feeling good about my progress and had noticed many improvements in my endurance and speed up until this point. Then I started running the 8 miles due that particular Saturday. For whatever reason, one of my knees was not cooperating. Maybe I didn’t foam roll enough? Too much? Did I step wrong? Did I have enough rest days? I had no idea. There was no way that I was able to run those miles. So I didn’t. I didn’t give them up completely, however. I walked those miles. As in life, sometimes shit happens for no apparent reason and we keep going. We keep getting up, walking the dog, going to work, and then it isn’t so shitty anymore. So I walked. The entire time I wondered: what do I do? Do I give up? Not race next month? Stop training for the half?
Training Again: Dedication and Commitment (Life: It Keeps on Keepin’ On)
I took one full week off after my knee injury. No running. No cross-training. I iced and rested. Then I spent a week refocusing my energy on making both knees stronger again. I walked, strength trained, iced and rested. I’ve decided to start again from the beginning of my training schedule. I am not giving up. Today I ran a mile. Pain-free.
Sometimes when things get rough, it is truly important to recognize when you just need a break from the task at hand. Frequently, stepping back from something is smart, necessary, and healthy. It isn’t a sign one should quit but a sign that a new strategy is needed.
I don’t know if there is a scale to measure a stronger person. Is it even quantifiable?. I feel strongly that accomplishing my goal will make me a stronger person. From the outside, no one will know that I’m any different. Sticking to a training schedule, early mornings, cross-training, and dealing with setbacks are all things that can make you a stronger runner, but can also make you stronger person to handle life and it’s ever-curvy road.
What makes you feel like a stronger person in your life?