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Monday, February 27, 2012

Week 3 - Being Present

There are many reasons I have never enjoyed running.   It hurts every single part of my body, albeit not all at the same time.   At the beginning, it is generally my lungs gasping for air followed by my ankles popping; the pain then moves up my shins and eventually settles into my hips.   Oh, and the next day, my lower back likes join my hips on a pain date. 

I ran 5 miles this week.  The longest I had ever run before beginning this journey was about 3 miles, and that was about 5 years ago.

But, this weekend, as I completed my fifth mile, I actually felt great.   Maybe it was the routine of the last three weeks or maybe it was the rush of the accomplishment, either way, at the end, I thought to myself, “I can do this.”  Then I thought to myself, “wait a minute, am I  *&%*ing crazy?  That was only 5 miles!  I have 21.2 more than that to do!”  That thought was incredibly overwhelming.  So, I snapped myself back to the present.  When I am present, I do feel the aches and pains that accompany me on my runs, but I also feel the crisp air, the sensation when my breathing starts to level off, the moment my pace becomes comfortable, and the excitement that comes from knowing what I am accomplishing. 

So, for now, I am not focusing on the marathon, instead, I am focusing on the moment.  

Iron-on Transfers

Finally added my name to my shirt!!!

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Week 2 - Gratitude

Saturday was my second team training.  This week we were placed in our pace groups, - as anticipated, I was at the back of the pack, - but I might add, not in the slowest pace group.   From here on out I will be running four minutes, walking one minute, - unless by some miracle there is a dramatic change in my overall fitness ability.   I do not anticipate there will be.  

This week, participants were encouraged to invite friends and family who might wish to participate in the race, or who were just there to provide moral support.   When I arrived bleary eyed at 7:00 a.m., there was my friend Lorna waiting for me.  Throughout the four mile run, Lorna and I chatted about her recent marathon experience (that’s right, she’s already done a marathon, making her a real inspiration!), our jobs, and our families.   She offered insights to help me conquer hills and when I need a little more than a minute of rest towards the end; she let me have it, but then started running again, and helped me push through to the end.    Having her support throughout the run truly enabled me to make it through this week, so I want to offer her my tremendous thanks. 

Her encouragement also made me think about all of the other encouragement I have received from so many other sources.   At 6:30 a.m. on Saturday morning, I received a text from my Dad, telling me to rise and shine for my training.   During the week between practices, my amazing Partner Justin, took Oliver to the playground so that I could finish my midweek run, despite the fact that he is with Oliver all day, every day, and I know he would like that extra twenty minutes to himself.    Without his support there is no way I could run this marathon.   And, of course, to everyone who has donated to this extremely worthwhile charity.   To all of you, and for all of you, I am grateful.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Day 1: Perspective

Saturday, February 11, 2012, I ran three miles.   Well, I ran/walked three miles.  This, for me, is amazing.   Prior to March of 2009, I exercised quite a lot, but then I got pregnant, spent much of my pregnancy on bed rest and/or restricted activity (and drank an excessive number of McDonald's Strawberry Milkshakes).   After Oliver, well let's just say, I haven't exactly made time to exercise, and he's now two.   So, the obvious choice was to do a marathon, right?  I thought so too!   I signed up to do Team in Training (TNT), a program of the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society.   My Dad was diagnosed with Leukemia two years ago, underwent treatment and is doing great now, --  making TNT the perfect way to give back to an important cause.   So, there you have it.  I can’t even run 26 minutes and now I have four months to learn how to run 26.2 miles.

Last Saturday was my first run.  I was relieved to learn that I would not be expected to actually run 26.2 miles.  Instead, we would be training using a run-walk-run method developed by some guy named Jeff Galloway.  I'd never heard of him before, but I already like him.  We were put into groups:  those who wanted to run four minutes and walk one minute; those who wanted to run two minutes and walk one minute; and those who wanted to walk.   Never one to overachieve, I joined the middle group.  Good thing too - turns out three miles is actually much longer than it sounds!   I finished in 36 minutes.   We haven't been put in our pace groups yet, but judging from where I came in, I'll be towards the back of the pack. 

In situations like this, people typically assume that you are disappointed in your performance.  They try to be reassuring and say things like, "slow and steady wins the race."  Well, that may be true, but I don’t think it’s the whole story.

A few weeks ago, while at the zoo, Oliver and I watched the giant tortoise making its way across the enclosure.  Thinking I would use this as a learning opportunity, I asked Oliver, "is the turtle moving slow or fast?"   His response "fast, mommy."  Thinking he was misunderstanding the concepts of fast and slow, I started to explain that the tortoise was moving slow.   He would have none of it, and continued "fast, mommy, tortie fast, like wace cahr" (that’s race car for those of you who don’t speak toddler).  He clearly understood the concepts of fast and slow, so why did he think that the giant tortoise was moving so fast?   At the time, I wrote it off to the peculiar sensibilities of two year olds, but as I thought about it later, it occurred to me, that to him, a giant tortoise coming straight toward him, no matter what speed it is actually going probably looks pretty darn fast.    Speed, like anything else, is a matter of perspective.    

From my perspective, as a slightly overweight working mother of a two-year old, that 36 minute time was pretty darn fast, -and I intend to just keep getting faster!