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!