Tuesday, December 6, 2011


So this year was a big one for me, exercise-ically speaking. I have taken up running! Again. Ever since my mission (2004) I have run off and on and enjoyed it. I started running again in Feb of this year for the first time since CeeCee was born. My goal was to run a half marathon by the end of the summer. Luckily, I have a great neighbor down the street who also happens to be a personal trainer and who also happened to be in need of a running partner. We ran together, starting short and slow, in the mornings in February, March, and most of April. Then we had to part ways as things began coming up in our lives such that we could not consistently run together. Sometime between February and April, I somehow was convinced, albeit not wholeheartedly, that I could actually run a FULL marathon. Crazy? Yes, I think so. I mean, I was always the last person to finish the mile run in middle and high school, walking most of the way because I could not breathe, with 20 minutes being a good time for me. I have struggled with sports-induced asthma basically my whole life, and I have sometimes needed an inhaler, or struggled big time without one. I always thought there must be something wrong with people who run. What is chasing them? Plus, I didn't really know any runners growing up - running wasn't a big activity in my hometown.On my mission, out of necessity (due to my companion being an avid runner who, of course, needed me to be with her while she ran every morning), I came up with breathing exercises that made running for more than a minute or two possible for me. They still work for me now, even though I don't usually need to use them anymore. Long story short, I started training for, not a half marathon as I had originally planned, but a full - 26.2 miles. After my personal trainer friend and I stopped running together, I found a marathon training plan on the internet and decided to go for it, but without my whole heart and soul. At one point, after an extremely exhausting 14 mile Saturday run, S asked if I really thought I could run 26.2 miles, since I had so much trouble with 14. I told him, no, at that point I did not think I could run 26.2 miles - that is why I was training. Silly S. Essentially, I just stuck to the plan like glue until I got within about 5-6 weeks of finishing, and then I figured that I needed to sign up for one - of course, by then I had to pay a late registration fee, but I didn't want to pay at all until I knew I could do it! The week before my marathon, I decided to take the kids to the finish line of another marathon nearby and cheer for the runners (even though we didn't know any). All runners know how nice it is to have even strangers cheering for them. Anyway, it's way silly I know, but it was definitely an emotional experience watching all the people cross the finish line and accomplish such a lofty goal. I was there at around the time I figured it would take me to finish, and I was pleased to discover there were still many people finishing at that time. I knew I would finish, but I had been worried about possibly being the last. Of course, finishing last was still a possibility, since the marathon I signed up for had about 1/10 of the runners that the marathon I watched did. But I didn't mind finishing last anyway, I just wanted to finish, and preferably within my time goal.Can I tell you that my first marathon was one of the greatest experiences of my life? I chose seriously one of the most beautiful marathons I could have chosen (email me if you are interested) and at the end of July, I ran it! I felt totally great for the first half, and I even ran faster than the pace I expected (I had not been accurately timing myself during training, but my trainer/friend lent me her Garmin watch for the marathon). In fact, I felt great for the first 20 miles. Then I started to slow down a little, about 1 min/mile slower. I still felt great though. At mile 23, the farthest I had run during training, I felt pretty good, but about a half a mile later I really started slowing down. Like 1-2 min/miles slower. I was able to pick up the pace a little bit around mile 25, and a little bit more around mile 26, but I definitely crossed the finish line quite a bit slower than I was running at mile 20. But I finished! 42nd out of 65! S was volunteering at the finish line and my trainer/friend, who had run most of the last half along with me, ran ahead and took some pictures of me crossing the finish line. Ultimately, I have only two pictures of the whole thing, but I am glad to have even those because we had a lost camera scare which I am glad to forget. :) It is a beautiful thing to discover that my body is capable of doing so much more than I ever imagined! The marathon recovery period lasted from Saturday to the following Tuesday, after which I would never have known that I ran a marathon by the way I felt. In fact, just hours after running a marathon, I found myself at home with my husband, children, brother, and sister, with all of the adults sleeping but me, leaving me with my sore little body to chase the babies around. That night, we went to a tourist site about an hour away and walked around. I was pretty tired, but, again, surprised and thrilled that my body was handling all of this. Now, nearly 5 months later, it all seems like a dream. Isn't life just like that? I still look at people who have run marathons and think they must be crazy - only now I am one of them! Ha.

1 comment:

Heather K. said...

Okay...you're awesome! I tried running last year just to do a 5k and I had shin splints sooo bad....I gave up! LOL! I heard the shoes that look like a foot (while ugly and not very cute) help so much because it helps with your normal foot movement. I should try that because I do like the feeling after I run, just not the pain in it! But seriously, you are amazing! I LOVED this post!