Am I a runner?
|Me after sophomore year:|
Don't you want to pinch my cheeks
(or, wax my brows...if you can't make
fun of yourself!)?
I laugh, because this is the question that I still ask myself on a regular basis, even after almost two decades of leisurely running (well, perhaps more accurately JOGGING...i.e, at a pace pretty equivalent to, if not slower than, a speed walker! ) and the past year of fairly active running including a huge goal achieved and another one set. Last fall I ran the Woodrow Wilson half marathon. This year, I plan to run the Marine Corps Marathon!
It all began after my sophomore year of college... After I had packed on the dreaded "Freshman 15" plus an additional 5 more for good luck. My parents had both been fairly active runners while I was growing up, so I had great role models for setting fitness goal and keeping them. Truth be told, my mom has always been better at this than my dad...sorry, dad, she just has that determination that nothing will get in the way of what her mind is set to do...but I can't really remember a time growing up when they weren't both at least fairly regularly running. In fact I still have people telling me that they see my mom out in all kinds of weather conditions walking (the body can only withstand so many years of running... Of course, that number of years depends on the person, but my mom has hit it). So, when I was tipping the scales more so than I wanted, they helped me come up with a plan and stick to it.
I had always been a stationary biker. Running was hard for me. I always became winded and crampy. I didn't understand the fascination, let alone the downright ADDICTION some people seemed to have with it. But, then it all changed... kind of... I met Colonel Bahr! Colonel Bahr was the father of one of my freshman year besties, Tara, (and to this day one of my dearest friends!). He taught me the SECRET to successful running! Apparently, it's all about the breathing. Who knew? I learned the art of breathing... Counting steps as as I breathed in and then breathing out the same number of steps... Usually 3 or 4 steps in and then 3 or 4 out, but reducing it to 2 if a cramp moved in to work my way through it without stopping my run. Now to you REAL runners out there, you are probably chuckling to yourself thinking, "Well, DUH!", but this was really a game changer for me. I was able to run! And after nearly two decade of running (YIKES... I am getting old!!), the breathing pattern has become second nature.
Over the next decade I mostly ran as a form of exercise to keep healthy. I never really ENJOYED it, more like I saw it as a necessary evil. In my late 20s I ran the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure several times... Twice for a co-worker battling breast cancer and once for Mrs. Bahr. At that time a 5k felt like a million miles and I couldn't tell you what my pace was other than slightly faster than barely hanging in there.
|Bryan, after WW 1/2 in 2011|
And then, in September of 2011, I got an email from my brother Bryan seeing if I was interested in doing the Woodrow Wilson Bridge half marathon that October. There wasn't time for full training at that point and I was not confident at all in my ability to run it without training properly. But I went out to support him. The whole time we were there I was trying to psyche myself up to set the goal to return the next year as a participant.
|Cheering on Uncle Bryan|
Of course when my friend Eileen (who IS, undoubtedly, a runner) found out, she swept me up into her running fun. We signed up to run the "Jingle All the Way" 8k. I found that I could not only do an 8k, but could do a halfway decent time, AND was more likely to make myself get out and run during the craziness that is my life as a working momma of three if I was signed up for a race.
|Jingle All the Way 2011|
In talking to my friend Tara (maiden name Bahr!) about the half marathon, she seemed excited and likely to commit to it. This helped give me the shove I needed for two reasons. First, the type A in her immediately went out and did research sending me all sorts of options for training plans and making me realize that running a half might actually be doable. Second, she had just given birth and would barely be 5 months post-partum, so what was my excuse?
|Before the WW 1/2|
Bryan was going to run it again and my mom, who still has running in her blood, got swept into the excitement, too. Throw in Eileen and another friend from college and I suddenly had quite the support system. Last October, I returned to the Woodrow Wilson Bridge Half as a participant. And, somewhere in the midst of the training, I fell in love with running!! Running is a time that I can be ALONE. As a busy mommy, that RARELY happens. Add in some good music, and my mind can actually relax and sort through things and de-stress without someone interrupting, asking for a PB & J or where their bat-belt is. It helps me feel good...both mentally and physically.
|We FINISHED (we all did, even|
if two aren't pictured!)
And now I've moved on to the REAL goal: to run a FULL marathon. I know I'd like to be able to say that I've RUN a marathon, just not yet sure I really want to actually RUN it...ha, ha, ha! I do get all choked up emotionally and have butterflies in my stomach at the thought of race day! Of course, Eileen (who has run this before and is going to get me through this!) and I tried to sign up the second registration opened with laptops, iPads, etc, but the site kept crashing and the race sold out before we were able to get through. So, we have to go with plan B which is running to raise funds for an organization. There is something more noble to it and makes me feel even MORE committed, even if it adds the stress of raising funds. We are running for the Wounded Warriors Family Support group - an organization that should be near to everyone's hearts as it helps those who have been injured while fighting for our freedom!
|My biggest fans!!|
|Eileen, who PUSHES me!|
Week 1 of my 16 week training plan starts TOMORROW (well, today... wrote this in the car yesterday)! I would LOVE your support!! There are several ways to do so. First, of course, to donate! My page can be found: http://www.razoo.com/story/Marine-Corps-Marathon-2013?referral_code=share Second, if you run, find me on MapMyRun (free running app that I use) so I can see YOUR activity which will help me on days I'm not feeling so motivated. Third, come out on race day: October 27th. I've heard that the last 6.2 are the hardest emotionally. It would be so awesome to see familiar faces!!
|I'd like to think I'm|
setting a good example
And, to get back to the original question, I can now say with confidence that YES, I AM a runner... Now, if only I could lay off the cookies (or, as with this morning, the cinnamon buns with my coffee)! ;)
|Jingle All the Way 2012|
An Annual Tradition? Who's in