According to my training plan, Iím supposed to run 7 miles today. I tried running my 4 miles yesterday, but really only made it 1 mile before my foot started to complain. Honestly, I know that rest (ice, compression, etc.) is the only thing thatís going to heal this Ė but I really canít rest my foot because I have to walk. And if I have to walk, I might as well run, right? Why let my training suffer?
Sometimes I wish I never got into running Ė I feel compelled to do it, even though Iíve had a number of physical issues because of it. It seems to be the only thing that keeps my weight within healthy range, though.
If you had asked Nicole circa 2003 if she would ever run a half-marathon, she would have laughed and made some sort of comment on your sanity level.
(After I earned my first half-marathon medal, my husband didnít want to feel left out. So he did his own marathon.)
Not that I wasnít active 10 years ago. I had recently graduated college, had moved out to southern California for a job, and was determined to shed the 30 pounds I gained eating cheeseburgers and ice cream practically every day for the last four years. Being in So Cali made activity fun and easy Ė with beautiful, warm weather almost every day, I took every opportunity I could to be outdoors, whether it was riding my bicycle to the grocery store, hiking in the San Bernardino mountains, or just taking walks to soak up some rays. I had two gym memberships Ė one to a standard fitness facility (which I could be found hanging out on an elliptical when it was raining outside Ė no treadmill for me at the time), and one to an indoor rock climbing gym (definitely an awesome way to get exercise).
Fast forward four years, when I took a job in Connecticut to be closer to friends and family. Everything about Connecticut encouraged me to just stay inside. My bike collected dust. There was no rock climbing gym. My daily routine (60 minutes on the elliptical) Ė and corresponding weight loss Ė stagnated. I knew I needed to change it up Ė so one day, I just bit the bullet and got on the treadmill.
I think that first experience on the treadmill probably lasted oh, five minutes, at a pace that could only be considered a ďwog.Ē (walk? jog? who can really tell?) It was HARD compared to the elliptical. But every day afterwards, I got on the treadmill and either pushed myself a little longer, or a little faster, or both. I added inclines. On the occasional nice day in Connecticut, I took my run outside. I would add new songs to my iPod shuffle and get way too excited during my run when they came into the mix.
What kept me going was all about variability. I could present new challenges to myself daily when running, and it kept things interesting.
When my husband and I moved to New Jersey in 2010, we were roped into signing up for a 5k by some of his co-workers who wanted to form a team. I had never considered racing before Ė especially in a race that was going to be in the middle of December, as I hate the cold ( wheatontrial.wordpress.c
) Ė but it was for a good cause (the entry fee was simply an unwrapped toy for charity for the holidays), and we wanted to support the team.
Oddly, nobody else from our team showed up for the actual race that day. But it didnít matter Ė we had a blast! Runners showed up in Santa suits and elf ears (we even ran with the full Nativity). DJís blared holiday music at strategic points along the course. People I didnít know were cheering for me along the way. When I crossed that finish line and got my post-race bagel and banana, I knew I was hooked (I was much more excited about bagels back then).
So thatís my story about how I got sucked into races. Iíve done that same charity 5k every year since. Iíve run two half-marathons, and have my third coming up in November Ė plus a score of other races before that. But Iíve also had to deal with runnerís knee, IT band issues, and now foot pain. I just hope I can find the right formula (maybe being wheat free?) to keep these legs going.