Setting the bar higher than I ever thought possible.
Thursday, September 24, 2009
On Sunday, I am going to run my first half marathon - 21.1km non-stop running.
I signed up for this event early last spring when the snow was melting, the sky was blue and running outside (which I do year round) was actually becoming pleasant. I hadn't been drinking, didn't have a little brain cramp - I just decided that it would be nice to have something to run towards - instead of running away from being fat which is why I started to run in the first place. Since I was no longer fat - I thought a goal might be nice.
At that point, I was running 6 km 2 times a week and 8 km on Saturday mornings. It was hard work to do it too - I was delighted with my ability just to stay upright for 40 mins! Finding the time was a chore too - time to accommodate the warm up and cool down and the stretch and the 20 minutes flaked out on the couch and still get the rest of my day done. I had to learn how to placate my aging body and its myriad of post-run issues and how to nourish muscles that weren't accustomed to this. All of it took time and, here I was, signing us up for a half marathon; I was definitely going to need more time!
I read everything I could get my hands on about training for such a thing. Learned that "fartleks" aren't something naughty a grade 4 boy likes to say. Found another use for the word "tempo" unrelated to the hours spent on a piano bench in my youth. I learned about carbo loading (after years of carbo unloading!) and protein recovery needs. It boggles the mind how something as primitive as running has morphed into a science that fills volumes - but I read 'em all.
And I ran. Increased my weekly mileage a kilometer at a time. Changed from running after work when I was too tired to first thing in the morning - while I was still asleep. Purchased a gps/heart monitor system and applied what I was learning while I ran.
I ran in the pouring rain, in the blistering heat, along side transport trucks, around construction zones and through verdant parks - I just kept running. I got cat calls and wolf whistles and a few sarcastic remarks. I got high fived by a good looking man running the opposite direction one rainy morning when not even the birds got out of bed. I iced my hip, and my knees, and my foot - wandering complaints from a formerly obese body still yearning for the couch.
This past week, I topped out at 42.5 kms total running distance - the longest was just a shade over 19 km - almost as much as my total weekly mileage back in April.
I can do this and, on Sunday, I'm running 21.1 km - non-stop. Yes I am.