Jun 29, 2010

Update on Me

First of all, WOW! Roni Noone commented on my blog! I know I've said this before, but I'm now officially famous. Thanks Roni! I have yet to do my total tribute blog post about her, but I've been thinking on it for quite awhile. Without Roni I never would've started this crazy journey, nor would I have had the mental tools to continue it.

So, geez, my last blog entry was June 10th... well, I've been quite busy since then. My summer class is in full swing, we've traveled a lot, and I had that board meeting and stuff... anyway, no excuse, but there ya go.

Since my 5k I've run 3 times (not including tonight, which I'm definitely doing). I got up very early when we were staying at Kevin and David's near Cleveland, and ran 2 miles. I was very proud of my tenacity that day. I also got up very early on my birthday, and ran from our hotel up and around Mountaineer Field. Wow, what a culminating journey that was, running past banners of WVU football players. It was awesome that morning, coming back to the hotel, and all of my family was still asleep. I greatly value having a high "sneak." The third run was 8 days ago, on our woodsy trail at work. All of those runs went pretty well, and none of them felt pressured or anything. Just running because I like to run, and because I like to get exercise.

My next 5k is on July 10th, however, and I really need to hunker down and try to be in as good 'a shape as I was for the last one. My plan is to run tonight--2 miles--then run on either Friday or Saturday--3.1 miles. I'll do the same thing next week, running twice, only the 2nd run will be the race. I'm glad that I'm going to be doing 2 official races in 2 months, akin to Roni's commitment to do one official race per month this year. I don't know if I can manage that, as there aren't many races in my area, and I don't want to have to travel every month to a race, but we'll see. At least this is a good start. I also hope to run the "Run for the Hills" 5k--the highest race in West Virginia--in October, and/or the Beckley 5k the same month.

So, on the eating front... I've been doing well, maintaining my eating style for the most part. You know how it goes... some days/weeks you are really feeling it, and some you aren't. My weight hasn't changed much in the last few weeks, so I really do need to hunker down and pay attention to what I'm eating. Sometimes I just don't feel like entering everything I eat into Caloriecount.about.com, and when I don't enter it, I don't have to see how bad or good it was. By now though, I know how calories creep up on you throughout the day, especially if you're eating out a lot, or not eating as many veggies as you should.

Today though, I'm doing great. I had a healthy, fibrous breakfast; Lean Cuisine for lunch, watermelon as a snack, and I'm getting ready to go run. Dinner is at a friend's house, so I'm not sure what it'll be, but I know I can keep it healthy in portion size and focusing on the veg. No problem.

The thing is, if every day is a struggle, eventually you'll want to stop struggling and go with whatever flow your mind has dreamed up for you. That's a bad way to go, so I don't struggle. I make good choices, and sometimes I make poor choices. I look to people who have been there, like Roni Noone, to see how I'm supposed to keep this going when I seem to forget. And I don't let past choices affect future ones.

Jun 10, 2010

5k: Did it!

Never thought I would say this, but I ran a 5k. I really did it. When I started this crazy journey, I remember throwing my hands up to God and thanking him for being able to run 60 seconds straight; that's where I came from, and now I have completed my first official 3.1 mile run, which took me 38 minutes 8 seconds.

The two nights leading up to Race Day my nights were full of fitful dreams. Two nights before, they were all "Oh no! My hip is hurt again! I can feel it! I won't be able to run!" but when I woke up my legs felt completely fine. The night before the race, after spending the evening with the beginning of a very annoying throat/ear infection and sinus drainage, I dreamed about trying to run the race while sick. In  my dreams I was trying to figure out why God wanted to give me this additional challenge. What had I done to deserve this? Would I know after the race why it had happened this way?

The day of the race came (and I hesitate to call it a "race," since I had absolutely no intention of being anywhere close to "winning"), and I woke up early. I was nervous, I felt like crap, but of course there was no getting out of this. My sister was driving her family in to town very early this morning to see me, and Shelia and Marty were postponing their important plans for the day to see me run. Again, from Dare you to Move:

Everyone's here
Everybody's watching you now
Everybody waits for you now
What happens next?

So, I ate my banana and drank some water. I dressed in my running clothes with a matching jump suit over it, laced my running shoes, filled my Camelback with icey water, and we headed out. Showed up in plenty of time to check in, pay my $12, and get a shirt. We walked over to Chick Fil A for the family to have breakfast. I ordered a plain multigrain bagel with butter, and an orange juice. Carbalicious. I left the family to finish their breakfast while I went to finish getting ready to run.

There were so many Runners around! There were old guys with shaved legs and headbands, shirtless buff guys, skinny giggly high school girls, high school boys who looked like they had something to prove... these are the kind of people that show up early on a Saturday morning to pay $12 to run 3.1 miles. I was overwhelmed with the feeling that these people were not like me. Nobody had little kids in custom-made "My mama is an awesome runner" shirts (so cool, thanks Shelia). Nobody else's husband was there with 3 cameras in hand. Nobody else started their morning with a quick fast food breakfast at Chick Fil A. Nobody else had a Camelback. Oh well, who cared? I was here to run my first 5k, and that's just what I was going to do.

Even though we were early, and even though I was lined up with everyone else waiting, the race started abruptly. I didn't have my music cued up, and I didn't have time to start my Runkeeper. Nevertheless, I started moving at my slow pace. I had lined up close to the back of the pack, so I didn't get in too many people's way. Still, several of them had to go around me. I hope it inspired them a little bit to be passing this stout middle-aged lady.

Soon after starting I had my one and only chance to pass someone during the race, and I wasn't even sure if I wanted to pass him. I didn't want to hurt his feelings, and I kindof felt like "who am I to pass anyone?? I should just stick behind," but this guy was truly going too slow for me, so I made the pass. I looked at the stats later, and that dude was in the "65-70" age category. :) So, behind me, there was that guy and two ladies who were running together, probably their first time, just like me. I beat 3 people that day.

My body started to tell me that it wanted to take a break, and I kept telling it we would take a walk at the halfway point. Just have to make it that far, then we can rest a little. During that first half, I started to see the lead runners coming back the other direction. I was so happy for them, and so glad to have them to watch. The guy in first place ended up finishing in just over 17 minutes. A few people running the other direction gave me encouraging looks and thumbs up. That was cool.

When I got to the halfway point, of course my family was there yelling for me and making noise. Nobody else had anyone waiting at the halfway point. My family is awesome. I was so glad to see them, and of course I couldn't stop running while they could see me. I kept running. I gave thumbs up and encouraging looks to the 3 people who were behind me while going the other direction.

The music I had to listen to was great. I had meticulously arranged it the day before, and it was just what I needed. Here was my 5k playlist:

U2 - Beautiful Day (lovely beginning)
Beck - Loser (just fun to run to)
Phish - Twenty Years Later (about accomplishing hard stuff)
Eminem - Lose Yourself (listened to it the first time I ran)
Switchfoot - This is Your Life ("this is your life, are you who you want to be, this is your life, is it everything you dreamed that it would be")
No Doubt - Just a girl (a girl inspiration song)
Nina Simone's version of - Here Comes the Sun (this is my "if you have to walk, this is when you're allowed to" song)
Switchfoot - Dare You To Move (my favorite)
Phish - Sugar Shack (just a fun song, about a kid running and having fun)
Switchfoot - Your Love is a Song ("your love is a symphony all around me running through me")

and I never made it to Wicked - Defying Gravity, and I had hoped that I would finish before that song. Also, I decided not to run when Nina came on, so I skipped that one.

However, I did stop running at one point. It was just one of those things, one second you're running, and the next your body has started walking, unbeknownst to your brain. It feels good to walk after you've been running for so long, and you want to keep walking forever. Your mind kicks in, though, saying "Don't get used to this! We're going to run again very soon!" I would've walked for longer, but after about 20 seconds I saw someone standing on an overpass above the road, looking down at the trail. I didn't want that guy to see me walking, so I started running again.

I came around the last turn, and could see the final very long stretch to the end of the race. Lots of people were down there milling around after their runs, and my family was down there somewhere too. I didn't know if Annie and Paul had even made it, but eventually I could make them out among the other people. I was so blessed; I had my mother-in-law, father-in-law, husband, 2 boys, sister, brother-in-law, niece, and nephew, all waiting to see me finish the race. So awesome.

Finally, I made it. They handed me a stick with a number on it: 61. I was 61st! Woohoo! I probably thanked my family for being there, and I leaned forward, putting my hands on my knees. I was beat, and it felt so good to stop and lean over. Whew. I didn't know what to say to everybody; we were all standing there looking at each other and sharing congratulations, and it was over.

I looked up the race results later to see my time, and also saw that I was 4th place in my age/gender bracket! Out of 4! Woohoo! Doesn't even matter... I did it.

I'm still fighting the cold that I was getting right before the race, so I haven't run again yet. But my next 5k is next month, in Arthurdale. I might even have a buddy to run that one with me...that would be sweet. This one will certainly be harder (because it won't be on an extremely flat rail trail), but I will do it.

Jun 3, 2010

Change of Plans

Back when I started the Couch to 5k program, I figured it was at least possible that I'd be changing my plans as race time got closer. That is, I would've believed that maybe I'd have quit this fool thing by now, and had possibly decided that doing a 5k was indeed impossible, cancelling my plan to run one (or rather, ignoring that there ever had been a plan to do so). Instead though, my plans are changing in an unanticipated way: I'm running a 5k this Saturday in Beckley (that I didn't know existed until today), instead of the race in Fairmont next Saturday. This will save us a lot of time and $$, and I'm generally very pleased that we've decided to do it.

One thing that made me pretty sad about it though was that my parents were going to be able to come to the race next week. I know they have been really proud of what I'm doing, and were happy to be able to be there and show support. Alas, they are--as ever--completely understanding. We're going to send them a video of me going across the finish line instead.

I also feel guilty about one thing: this race is going to be a lot easier than the one in Fairmont would have been (at least, I think so). This one is on a rail trail, easy course, no hills, 1.55 miles up, and then back the opposite direction.

So, this evening I went for my run--now the last one before the race--on the very trail that I'll be running with all those other people this weekend. After gloating all afternoon that "I can do this! No problem! I've run there before, even!" I had a damn hard time of it. It was so hot, and sunny when the trees gave way. I realized quickly that this still wasn't going to be easy for me. It was going to be a struggle, especially to run the whole time with no walking. I'm just going to have to do the best I can do, because that's all I can do.

The most important thing I learned on my run tonight is that I cannot downplay the importance of this race to me. I can't let myself be overwhelmed by all the fast runners, racing back the other direction while I'm still plodding through the first half. I can't tell myself "Laura, this is only a 5k." I'm telling you now, Laura; "THIS IS A 5k!"

A year ago, I couldn't run 31 steps, let alone 3.1 miles. A few months ago, I heard of doing a "1 mile fun run," and wondered how they could take a whole mile of running so lightly. In my opinion back then, anyone who could run a mile was amazing. Well, now I'm amazing. I can run a mile, and I can even run two, maybe even 3.1 without stopping. We'll see. But the important thing is, I can go the distance. I will make it, and it will be a major accomplishment in my life. Can't wait!