Sunday, July 6, 2014

Running the Dream....

I started running not out of any love of the sport or athletic dreams.  I started running because of my ubiquitous conquest of trying to be at a healthy weight.  In other words, I want to be a MILF and I want to wear cute shorts, swimsuits without making people cry, and not feel self-conscious.    The battle has raged on and let me tell you cheese, pizza, beer, and pretty much any type of sweet puts up one hell of a fight.

Running is great cardio and burns lots of calories fast, plus my brother is a runner and my husband is a runner and several of my friends so it seemed like a no brainer.   I am not going to lie and say I am now addicted.  It is not like Netflix, I can turn it off.  I literally force myself to run.  One way I have found that has kept me in check is making sure I meet with my running partners.  My running besties.  Felecia, Amanda, and Sarah have kept me in check many mornings when I did not want to get out of bed at 6:00 AM on a Saturday or kept me from cashing out at mile five and to keep going.   We are a little bit competitive, so that helps too, some of us more than others but I won't mention any names. But I will tell you it rhymes with Telecia.

 Here is another thing about having running friends, you end up pushing each other to be better but you also get more than just the competitive edge.  Four moms out running for two hours while their families sleep so they don't miss out on the events of the day.  We solved the worlds problems at least five times.  

Spending that much time together watching the world come alive every weekend, a bond gets created.  People that I have always liked and admired became more than just casual friends.   They became therapists, stylists, life coaches, doctors, and cheerleaders.     During our training we talked and talked and then sometimes we would all be quiet.   The quiet is just as beautiful as the talking because there is comfort in the peace of silence. Each of us in our own heads, perhaps praying to God, talking to loved ones lost, or even just going through a very long to do list.  There is comfort in knowing everyone is there working for the same goal and wanting you to reach yours. 

When I trained for my first half-marathon I did it alone in my basement on my treadmill.  It was May 2012 and I was an animal.  I was also 15 to 20 pounds thinner and was barely eating.  I pulled a tendon in my foot during the run and could not run for a month and then I gradually gained it all back which was depressing and not a new experience in my lifelong battle.    My time was 2 hours and 14 minutes.

I decided that this year was going to be a great year and to Choose Joy.  One of my goals was to run another half marathon.  Knowing I needed support, I enlisted some of the my friends I knew ran.  The three hotties listed above.  Obviously, with all of us working moms of multiple children with very active lives, I had to enlist the treadmill and some solo outside runs.   Our treat was the weekend runs and some occasional weekday meet ups.   We signed up for a run for on June 14, but then with a late addition of the Rockford Marathon.   I ended up running two half marathons within three weeks.

My Rockford Marathon time was 2:18.  I was not super happy but I was still proud. Being that my first and only other half I finished 2:14 and I was in my opinion in better shape at that time, I understood my performance.

I could not stop running because June 14th was coming up.  My thought was.... who the hell signs up for two in less than a month.  Turns out lots of people, but I digress.  Getting nervous, we decided that we needed to do a really long run before the race but not the weekend before because you need to rest your legs, so at 5:00AM on a random weekday we all met up all sleepy eyed and confused as to why the birds were still asleep and why we were out in the dew covered morning.   Amanda brought a GU for me to try and it really helped.  We ended up doing a full 13 miles that gorgeous morning and our confidence in our ability and our fitness was renewed.

On the morning of the race we all drove to Rockford ready to take on the day.  It was great weather and the course was a little different than the other races we have done but nonetheless it was a great day.  I pushed myself hard.  I kept a good pace for me and never let myself fall below.    I finished the half in 2 hours and 6 minutes and 33 seconds according to my Nike App.   Sadly, my race time was not posted on the website.  I had a minor temper tantrum after my husband told me it did not matter that I knew what my time was.......  I know you would throw a fit too.  It absolutely matters because I like to be validated more than is acceptable in polite society. 

 I was so proud of myself that I had tears in my eyes as I crossed the finish line. It was very emotional for me because I really pushed myself.  One of the things I will never forget as long as I live was the look on my friend Sarah's face as I crossed the finish line.  She knew my other time and that I had just scorched my PR by 10 minutes, which in the running world is huge.  Her face was so happy, proud, and excited for me. She was cheering and running towards me and we had a big sweaty awesome hug.   I must add that she is a natural athlete and had been done for awhile at this point like 20 minutes.    That is the thing about running though, you do race with other people, but you really compete with yourself.

My focus for the summer is to work on my 5K speed and to do more cross training.  I have a lot of other interests that I am pursuing so my time is getting even more limited.    But one thing I will always have time for is throwing on my shoes and running to meet up with my coaches, therapists, advisers, cheerleaders and friends.


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