Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Map My Run, the Rock n Roll Half Marathon and Becoming a Runner

As you may, or may not, know, I am training for a half marathon in Virginia Beach on August 31st.  I have a long, long training schedule.  It is a run/walk schedule the wonderful women of Run Like a Mother/Train Like a Mother sent me.  I am working very gradually to a point where I will run 12-14 minutes at a time, with only 1-2 minute walk intervals.  It makes sense for me. 

I use Map My Run to track my routes.  I love the app!  I can see the elevations, calories burned (accounting for my weight), the routes I take.  As I train, it tells me at each mile my pace.  It has a lovely box for me to put in comments; I use it like a shorthand running journal.  And, I share it on Facebook.  I do this for myself; it keeps me honest.  I do love the "likes" and supportive comments.  I also understand that not everyone wants to see that four times a week.  I won't apologize for posting it each time, but I will understand if you hide the Map My Run app, or even me.  I won't feel bad.

It has been a long, hard road to becoming a runner.  About five years ago, I went to a Mexican restaurant with a group of Goddess friends for Robin's birthday (she wore a tiara!).  We were there for dinner and karaoke.  One of my newest friends at the time, Brook, came after a brief run (and a shower of course).  She and another friend were discussing running and this book, Running for Mortals by John "The Penguin" Bingham.  I bought it soon after that birthday party.  I read it and loved it.  I knew I wanted to be a runner. 

I signed up with a good friend to run the Wicked 10k in 2009.  I trained some, though not well.  I planned to walk it all.  However, we had a family emergency and had to fly to Minnesota the weekend of the race.  I was a little sad, but knew I'd do it again someday.  I pretty much quit running/training for anything after that.

Thing happened in our life.  We moved to North Dakota and I got pregnant.  As I was reading books about pregnancy, I came across a book called Run Like a Mother by Dimity McDowell and Sarah Bowen Shea.  I picked it up.  Again, I loved it.  I wanted to be a runner!

I walked and tried to train, but it was a lot harder with a baby than I thought it would be.  Again, I signed up for the Wicked 10k in Virginia Beach.  I trained to walk it.  Roger, RT and I flew to Norfolk and stayed with a great friend.  Dawn and I walked the 10k.  It was fun.  I was happy to finish.  I got my medal and earned the right to wear my shirt (which I wear at least once a week now!).  It was good.  I was energized.  I went home to North Dakota and it was winter...ugh!  I quit running/training.

We moved again to Boston.  Boston is home to one of the most prestigious marathon in the world.  I was excited to be there for the event, though I never planned to be anywhere near the route.  Of course, this was the year of the bombing.  As removed as I was from the race itself, I was greatly affected by the bombings and the aftermath.  It hurt me.  I still cannot hear sirens and helicopters without feeling anxious and sick to my stomach.  My work friends and I went to Chinatown for dim sum the Wednesday of marathon week.  We passed dozens of FBI SUVs and talked about the horrors.  Two of those friends and I decided to do a race.  I was in.  I wanted to be a runner...again...  We signed up for a 4 (mile) on the 4th (of July) in Dedham.  It was hot and humid and I had done no running training.  I walked the entire race at a decent pace.  I finished.  I quit training again. 

This time I had some awful shoulder and back injuries and was going to the chiropractor and for PT.  I was on all kinds of crappy meds.  The chiropractor I found helped me work on stretching and we discussed what I could do to NOT repeat this pain.  I had to become more active and lose weight.  I started tracking my walking and adding longer walking episodes.  But, again it was winter and it is hard to start any new training in the winter.  I walked a lot and that was pretty good.  I knew I needed to step it up.

Then we moved to Minnesota.  There are paths near our house.  I still wanted to be a runner.  Then one day, I saw this little quotation picture thing on Facebook.  It had something to do with wanting versus willing.  It clicked in me.  Yes, I wanted to be a runner, but I never thought I could be.  I never thought I could do it. 

I would go to running stores and be treated like I didn't belong.  It hurt to not get as good of service as the thinner women in the store.  Sadly, a part of me agreed that I didn't belong; that I was not, nor would I ever be good enough to be a runner.  It wasn't fair that the running retail employees treated me poorly, for sure, but I wasn't being fair to myself either. 

The idea that switching the phrase, "I want to be a runner" to "I will be a runner" seemed insignificant at first.  Then I added the running intervals to my walks.  The first day, after my very first run interval in years, three guys "mooooood" at me.  I didn't let it break me.  I pitied them for their need to make me feel bad, and I persevered.  It was not a great first run/walk interval attempt, but I ran.  I ran 6 minutes, 2 minutes at a time.  I just kept telling myself that I will be a runner.

Today I walked 3 minutes and ran 3 minutes for 30 minutes total.  That means I ran 15 minutes (6 of them uphill!).  My first run/walk was May 5; today is May 14.  I am pretty proud of that progress.  And I see myself continuing to run more.  There are challenges; most of them are in my head.  It isn't easy to shake the idea that I'm not a runner, that I'm not good enough, but I work on that every day.

I went to a running store yesterday to buy some socks.  I have a referral from a guy I went to high school with in Eden Prairie, and I will definitely check them out soon.  But, I just needed socks and this store is next to the Target I was already visiting.  I walked in the store and was asked by a very young man in excellent shape.  I said that I needed some socks and that I'd just moved to the area from Boston.  I told the now two men helping me that I am training for a half marathon in Virginia Beach.  One of the guys ran it a few years ago with is brother.  He and I discussed socks for a bit.  I told him that I have a great walk/run training schedule and he said that's great.  I felt like I belonged.  I do belong.

And I cannot wait until I cross that finish line in August!  Cheer me on if you like, hide me on Facebook if you want.  I'll do this.  I will be a runner (soon)!


Tina Adcock said...

You ARE a runner! Best wishes, and let's talk about your nutrition plan (if you haven't hired a dietician).

Nena Stracuzzi said...

Ohhh - I loved reading this. I feel inspired. There are things I want to do; I have the same voices in my head. We ARE our own worst enemies. If you're running, then you're a runner. Feeling proud (of you) ... need to get off my own ass.