Friday, May 20, 2011
I ran my first half marathon this past Sunday - the Pittsburgh Marathon. I know, I've been slow on a recap but I'll be honest, I don't remember a lot of the race. I didn't remember it a few hours later - kind of weird.
The weekend was a good one - except if I saw one more carb, I would have puked! We met a few Sparkers before the Expo, so that is always fun. We walked around the Expo and bought a couple of things - probably was there a bit too long because I was tired when we got home. I went to bed REALLY early (like 8:30 and still a little light outside) because I wanted a good night's sleep and we were getting up at 4:15. Oddly enough, I slept really well that night. I think it helped me think leading up to the race - "You didn't get nervous before any other long run, no need to get nervous before this one." Got up, headed to the parking garage and was there WAY early. Not knowing if there would be traffic or issues finding a parking space, we left early. Well, as luck would have it - we got right there and the lot we chose was perfect - hardly anyone there when we got there and equidistant to the start and finish. The only bad part was there was no restroom and by 5:30 I had to go. We weren't in the best part of town but if you have to go, you have to go. We grabbed a flashlight to go find a port-a-potty. Luckily, we ran into a volunteer and asked where we should go - he said well, the port-a-potties are a little ways down there but if I were you, I'd go that hotel and points to one a block away. PERFECT! Lots of Team in Training runners were eating their continental breakfast when we walked in - so we blended right in!
The starting "line" was pretty neat being a part of. 18, 000 people along the streets. Not as many spectators as I would have thought but then again, it could have been hard to discern who was who. It also started a misty rain right before the gun went off - but it was a nice rain that kept us cool. After about 15 minutes to the start line we were off.
We went through many neighborhoods that I've rarely been in (I'm really a suburbs girl!) so while I had an idea where I was, it was still nice to see the various and diverse parts of the city. Also, I think it helped me not really know where we were going - it helped me take one mile at a time! I only looked at my watch when a mile was coming up or when I thought we should have passed a mile so I could ask Bonnie who was wearing her Garmin (it took me to about mile 5 to realize there were these huge yellow mile marker signs - yes I was oblivous).
I was expecting to see my family at about mile 5 so that helped the half mile-mile around that trying to locate them. It ended up the subway was way behind schedule so they missed me there. Slightly bummed I didn't see them but figured I must have just not noticed them. Felt a little better when they said it was beyond their control - probably missed us by about 3 minutes or so! I did run into LYNNANN43 through the park like area.
I didn't struggle to much except on the "hills". Honestly, they weren't even that bad but I struggled. I ended up walking them beyond mile 6ish. For many people that probably is the best thing, they'd make up some time on the flat and downhill - for me it just meant a slower overall time. As I tell Bonnie - I feel like I have one speed.
My thighs started hurting around 11.5. That was a first and I wasn't sure how to deal with it. I think I tried to compensate somehow with taking a shorter stride - don't think that helped. They eventually worked themself out.
I kept telling myself "finish strong". Honestly, though, when I realized there was no way I was going to finish in under 2:30 like I hoped, I stopped pushing. Mentally, this is where I struggled during the race. It was really hard for me to just be happy that I was running 13.1 miles. I knew this was going to happen, I tried to plan for it, but it bothered me (in all honesty). I ran the end but I could have finished stronger (during my training runs, I was almost sprinting the last quarter mile). The good part was my family was along the last half mile or so. I didn't realize my nephew, Luke, was going to be there. Seeing that little 7 year old boy jumping up and down was great! He's so darn cute! Finish time was 2:37:04. Honestly, it's slightly better than I thought I'd do - not as good as I hoped I'd do. When I seemed a little bummed at the end Luke reminded me in his 7yo wisdom - It doesn't matter how fast you run - it's that you finished! As the week has gone on - I stopped the internal battle and am thrilled to say I finished - no matter the time. I'll just have to run it again to improve my time!
Thinking about the race this week led me down memory lane - hence the title of my blog, today. For me, the journey was just as exciting as the race itself. I could barely run a mile a the beginning of 2010. Looking at my blogs, I ran for 36 minutes (about 3.1m) on 3/5/10. I was happy when I set the goal of 5 miles by my birthday and accomplished it. The 10K was another milestone. Little by little I was becoming a runner.
Or was it I was a runner at the one mile mark a year and a half ago and little by little I was gaining confidence? Gaining self-esteem?
When people asked me if I was going to run the half since Bonnie ran it last year, I basically laughed in their face. I did 3 miles and stuggled with that - no way would I do a half. Well as my brother said once - we (family) set the bar really low and don't expect much of ourselves. Bonnie tells me often I sell myself short (said it once during the race when I saw the last hill approaching and I said there was no way I'd make it up). This is true but by running, this is getting better. I am getting better.
I think people run for various reasons beyond health - for me it makes me feel strong emotionally. That's where the 189.5 comes in to my equation - that's the miles I ran in preparation for my half. That's where I learned that I am stronger than I imagined. That's where I showed myself that if I set a goal, I can accomplish it. That's where I showed myself I am worth the effort. That's where I realized that my past may have brought me to this point and some times they internal scripts are hard to re-record but I have the power to define who I am today and going forward.
I am a Success
Tuesday, April 05, 2011
I rarely ever do it. Last time was at the gym and it's probably has been a month since I've been there since I've been running outside (cross training has been slacking, too). Even when I would do some at the gym, it wasn't a lot.
I need to do it. I know the importance. I know the benefits - both physically and mentally.
I have dumbbells. I have resistance bands. I have a book or two.
I need a plan. I also need a reward. I've learned that I am more likely to do something if I have these two things. I think while dinner is cooking I can do some strength - so that is the start of the plan
Not sure why I'm blogging about this except it's on my mind lately. I have barely lost any weight in the first 3 months of the year. I wonder if this is one of the reasons?!?!?
Tuesday, March 29, 2011
I’ve been writing this blog in my head for a little while now, when I tried to get it typed last week, I had trouble organizing my thoughts, so I hit delete. After Just a Short Run (JASR) this weekend, I wanted to give it another try - it may be long because I’m realizing another blog I was writing in my head is related – so my apologies in advance. Also I hope it looks OK because I typed it in Word - I hope it transfers OK.
“Shy isn’t a feeling, it’s an action” – a therapist I was seeing in my early 20s said that to me in one session. I don’t remember the context but I’m sure I was saying I didn’t do something because I was shy, a phrase (or an excuse) I said and/or thought often. His words have really stuck with me over the years because they are true. So where does the action, or inaction in this case, stem from? Identifying the feeling that is behind my “shyness” has always been difficult for me. Is inadequate a feeling? If so, maybe that is it but logically I can talk myself out of it. I know mentally that we’re all different, no one is any better than me – but the feeling inside seems to be there.
The blog in my head started a few weeks ago when SANDIEGOJOHN did a shout out for his SparkFriends to leave him a voicemail before his first half marathon. For about 3 days I thought about the message I could leave, trying to keep it short but also, supportive and funny – did I ever end up leaving that message, nope. Then for days afterwards I was beating myself up about not calling. What was my problem? It was a simple voicemail that I “felt too shy” to leave. It was like I was in high school or college and someone asked me to call for pizza – I couldn’t do it. (Yes, I don’t think I called for a pizza until I was in my 20s). What bothered me, too, it was as if I didn’t trust SDJ to listen to the voicemail with the openness and happiness that he intended. I made his request all about me. Icky feeling.
Jump to this past weekend and JASR. For those who haven’t been read the many wonderful blogs and updates from various members – JASR was a race in Pittsburgh this past weekend in which about 50 Sparkers from around the country (and Canada) came to participate in. There were 4 races to choose from, 5K, 8.1, Half, and 30K (the awesomeness that is BILLALEX70 completed that one!) and we all withstood the freezing temperatures to participate. (Coach Nancy had icicles in her hair when she was done). The weekend was full of activities – dinner Friday, lunch Saturday, a social on Saturday night (thanks to Bill, Anne, Lynn and Jan – things were well planned for us all).
Going into the weekend I realized I barely knew anyone who was going to be there. A few were Sparkfriends but not ones who I knew well or interacted with often, except Coach Nancy who I was really excited to meet. I wasn’t too concerned because I’m generally more than OK being an observer of conversations adding bits and pieces into it when I feel appropriate. Since I live in Pittsburgh, we (Bonnie and I) went back and forth to all of the events. A lot of miles put on the car but that is fine (well for me because I never drive – Bonnie was a bit worn out on Sunday). We ended up being a little late for everything because of traffic but I thought it was no biggie. I mention the not knowing people, not being in the hotel with many and running late because in retrospect one of these alone isn’t great for someone who is shy, all three together is kind of setting myself up for large group failure.
Leaving the weekend I realized I barely knew anyone who was there. I did have conversations with a few very nice and fun Sparkers. I don’t want to downplay any of the interactions I had with those who I chatted with at lunch and the gathering afterwards. Oh and the few I met in the freezing cold waiting for the race to start. I am glad I went to everything and met those who I did. In the days since I have had the same “what was my problem” to not introduce myself to people. To not join into a conversation. To think I would be imposing. One would think that it wasn’t a safe situation full of wonderful people – which it totally was. Also,like with SDJ, it showed lack of trust in those around me.
The article I wrote (well blog turned into article) “11 Things I Learned After One Year On Spark” leads off with “1. Treating myself as a friend is the greatest gift I can give myself. Loving, encouraging and reassuring myself are such useful things when some days are difficult.” This weekend I failed at that! When I didn’t call SDJ, I failed. (Fail is harsh but you get my gist). When my oldest nephew was about 3 he wanted to pet a dog at a park and he asked me to ask the owner. I said no, if he wanted it, he had to ask (which he did). I didn’t want him growing up like I did – someone who doesn’t use his/her voice. If I knew what was best for Patrick, why don’t I do the same for myself? Every time I give in to that feeling of inadequacy and not do something, I feed it and it just makes it harder for me the next time.
The feelings of inadequacy have been creeping in way too often lately. A friend doesn’t say “11:59 minute mile is so slow, even if it was 8.1 miles”. A friend doesn’t say “When are you going to be in 8s? I know you started at 16W and are now in loose 10s but why can’t you be in 8s?” A friend doesn’t say “When are you going to be in the 150s?” Heck, to be honest a friend doesn’t even say “what is your problem.” But I have said all of these – especially my first 8.1 race at a pace I didn’t like – to the point of tears.
What I realized today was when I sit on the outside when there’s so many great people on the inside not only do I not get to know them but they also don’t get to know me. An on the slight side of conceit – that is a shame. We are all a gift we share with each other and when we retreat into ourselves we deprive others of a gift. This weekend no one heard my Spark story, no one heard my running story, no one knows what I do for a living, all most know is I can make awesome Spark patches. I didn’t share my gift and it is a shame.
This weekend was an amazing one for about 50 Sparkers. Some ran/walked farther than they ever had before, some entered their first race, some personal records, all tackled a hill from hell (then other “rolling hills”) and others walk/ran through injuries to the finish line. From reading many blogs, some found their Spark again,some went out of their comfort zones of meeting people from the internet, many reconnected with old friends and met some new ones. Most are already planning for JASR in 2012.
This weekend was amazing for me because I came out with a couple ah-ha moments. 1) I need to start treating myself as a friend again. No more devaluing myself to feed the feeling of inadequacy. 2) I need a plan to start being better in social situations. When it comes to Spark – that may be easier than other places. I have added many SparkFriends. If I know them better before meeting them in person it will be easier to feel comfortable. In general, I’ve already started looking up books to read in overcoming shyness. I believe it is something that is able to be developed. I’m 40 and I have to continually tell myself to use my voice. I’m hoping reading some books will help me with that.
For me, Spark is about becoming the person I was meant to be. I recognize that I have a more work to do. This weekend and JASR has helped plant another seed for growth. I am very glad I went, got to witness what Spark is all about – the people, and that I got to meet those who I did. It will be a weekend that will be remembered for years to come.
Friday, March 04, 2011
Means saying YES to me.
I finally stayed awake for a whole The Biggest Loser episode the other night. One of the contestants made this statement after she was home for 2 weeks facing temptations "When I say NO, I say Yes to me!"
Gosh, that's such a great statement. Is it one that's popular and I haven't heard before?
Anyway, I just thinking about it in that way boosts my confidence... I haven't even had a temptation since I heard it but when I think "Says yes to me" it's like an exclamation mark happens inside of me.
I find it very easy to sway from my plan. Sure, I have lost weight, have gotten healthier, can head out the door for a run, all of these things but if there's a bowl of M&Ms in front of me - I'll have some. I am in my calorie range 90% of the time - so I can easily say, M&Ms aren't a big deal. (which in the big scheme of things aren't)... but am I really being true to who I am or want to be? Not really. Every time I walk away from temptations, I'm affirming who I want to be. Saying yes to who I am.
I am worth saying yes to!
Get An Email Alert Each Time BAM0827 Posts