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)!