At the tender age of 17, I fell in love with running. I joined the cross country team at my high school in my senior year. It was the only team I was ever a part of, aside from 3 summers playing in a softball league, after college. I am highly competitive but only with myself. I choke at the thought of even trying to beat anyone at anything. (Hard to believe I pitched for 2 of those 3 summers. Talk about pressure...) I believe I was the slowest or maybe it was second slowest on that team. I hated it! But I loved running. With the exception of those periods of time when I was nursing an injury (mostly in the last few years!), I have run regularly for over 35 years. Being a runner was definitely the first step toward becoming a fitness coach, which is what I do for a living.
I dabbled in races at various times of my life but the only thing very serious about my running - is that I run. I don't run fast. I don't necessarily run long. But when I am propelling my body forward at my weenie pace of about 5-6 miles an hour (depending on the year!), I am most definitely the closest one can become to being mindful. Not every run, because often I am working out a problem or running from one! And lately I have taken to running with an ipod and THAT is a whole other experience. But I always come back from a run feeling like a million bucks. Feeling like - I ROCK!
I ran one marathon at the age of 39 and do not plan to do another one EVER. It was one of THE highlights of my life but once is enough for me. I will savor that stand alone accomplishment forever. I did several years of triathlon which is a swim, bike, run, timed event. My longest being one called an Olympic length which is a 1 mile swim, 26 mile bike and a 6.2 mile run (all in one morning mind you!!!!) My last triathlon was in 2006 when I was training 2 clients to complete a triathlon and somehow ended up doing it myself as well. (I still don't know how THAT happened!) I call that my retirement from triathlon. I have no plans to do triathlon again either!
Why am I boring you with all this? Well, I feel a bit unfocused in this 53rd year of my life (Oops -I mean 49th!!! Did I say 53rd??) and anytime I feel that way, I like to choose a goal to focus on. It distracts me from whatever it is I'm going through and I usually come out the other side, back in balance. So I decided it was time to look for a goal. What better than a running goal? That's how I chose to train for the Fairfield (Connecticut) half marathon, which takes place June 27th.
It's a pretty intense goal because this old body ain't what it used to be! I have intermittent knee, back and hip problems along with chronic shoulder issues. I'm pretty beat up. Let's face it, weight training and running for 35 years takes its toll, especially when you are the type of person who works through pain instead of respecting it. Let me re-phrase that - the type of person who USED TO work through pain instead of... Truth be told, because I refuse to become a slug, I have learned to respect pain. As a fitness trainer, my mantra is "go to the door of the house of pain. DO NOT go in." I still have to remind myself of that during every workout but my body stays in a mostly healed state these days so that's a good thing.
Which brings me to the question, "Why did I choose training for a half marathon as the new goal!!!!??" We're talking 10 weeks of dedicated training - running 4-5 times a week. (Check out the training schedule below.) And then you have to compete and complete 13 plus miles at the end of it all! Actually, I chose it because I wanted to get more dedicated to running again after 2 years of healing injuries and it seemed like a good way to do it. I convinced my friend Lynn to train with me. She is freaking already! But I assured her we would take it slow and listen to our bodies and we get to visit 4-5 times a week! She hasn't quite committed but I think I hooked her.
Heck - I have no idea if my body will hold up to 10 weeks of training. This may be over before it barely gets started. But this is what I do for a living. I TRAIN WOMEN. I should be able to safely train MYSELF for goodness sake! I know I need to continue strength training regularly. I've resumed my yoga practice 2-3 times a week and that has changed my body completely - I am stronger and I am more flexible. I'm running 30-40 minutes 2-3 times a week. I can totally do this!
Funny thing is, I mentioned this to a few friends and suddenly, I'm in more company. My friend Nancy is considering it. My friend Chrissy has basically committed - AND SHE'S NOT EVEN A RUNNER - yet!! I'm a little excited. I'm starting to envision something a bit bigger than I originally intended and I'm liking it ALOT. I'm thinking, hmmmmm - this could turn out to be a totally different experience. Talk about a goal!
How many of my "girls" will read this blog and want in??? The word "team" is starting to sound pretty good. There's nothing I love better than making women feel good about themselves. Why not a half marathon? Think of the accomplishment. Think of the JOY!!!!!!!!! This could get interesting... I'll keep you posted. (I crack myself up! Get it? - "posted"?!)
10-Week Half Marathon Training Schedule
Week Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat Sun Total
1 3 Rest 3 3 Rest 4 Rest 13
2 3 Rest 4 3 Rest 5 Rest 15
3 3 Rest 4 3 Rest 6 Rest 16
4 3 Rest 5 3 Rest 8 Rest 19
5 3 Rest 5 3 Rest 10 Rest 21
6 4 Rest 5 4 Rest 11 Rest 24
7 4 Rest 6 4 Rest 12 Rest 26
8 4 Rest 5 4 Rest 9 Rest 22
9 3 Rest 4 3 Rest 8 Rest 18
10 3 Rest 3 W2 Rest 13.1Rest 21.1