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When the Impossible becomes Possible

Sunday, September 30, 2012

There were many false starts before I started to really run. It wasn't until the fourth of July vacation that I actually started to run regularly enough -- and train hard enough -- to really BE a runner and see progress and improvement.

At the time, I was house-sitting for my parents. And I decided that I should try to make the run between my apartment and my parents house.

For those who know Lafayette, it means running down the fourth street hill and around the courthouse, crossing the pedestrian bridge, and taking the Happy Hollow Trail up. The parents live about 4 blocks from the pedestrian entrance on Indian that part of the trail has a pretty steep slope!!

I decided to walk it first...and an hour and 45 minutes later, arrived at my parents house. It was HOT that weekend, so I was very tired and sweaty, out of breath and dehydrated, and felt very defeated. If I was this bad after WALKING the trail, there was NO WAY I could run it.

That was a very familiar feeling for me. Every time I had tried to start running, I would have that moment of defeat when I would decide that I wasn't meant to be a runner. Where I would (in retrospect) bite off a bigger, tougher trail than I was ready for and let my own ambition trick me into thinking that running just didn't "fit" into my lifestyle.

Luckily, this time I didn't give in to that voice in my head. I started slowly, running about 1.5 miles in 20 minutes and slowing building up my strength and speed and endurance.

But I started pulling my sweaters out of storage yesterday, and found THE SWEATER. The totally cute form-fitting sweater that I could not wear last year, but refused to give up in the hopes that it WOULD fit next year!

And it still doesn't fit. But only through the bust does it start getting stretched out. It used to be that I could see my spare tire...all the way around...but now it fits through the waist!

So I started wondering, what else do I have that didn't fit a year ago that might fit now? And I remembered that hard trail that nearly defeated me.

In my mind, I had built it up to be 20 miles long and up a 70% slope the whole way. But of course, that's what people do in their mind when they find a WHITE WHALE that they can't imagine ever conquering.

I'm heading over to my parents house this afternoon, and happily prancing in my sweater that ALMOST fits, I decided to check out the trail again. After all, I'm already up to running almost 7 miles. And I'm averaging ALMOST 11 min/mile (a little slower for short runs, ironically). And I've reached the point where my knee CAN run up hills (though I would probably have to walk part of a long, steep uphill trail.)

Mapping it out, the trail is less than 5 miles long. Yes, a good chunk will be uphill. Yes, I might need to walk part of it. But I can finish a 5 mile run in just over an hour EASILY now, even when running up the hills and walking part of the way.

So I will indeed be running to my parents house this afternoon. Not only is it 30 degrees cooler outside than it was over fourth of July, but I have actually invested the time and become a RUNNER!! And I can't wait to see what my time will be!!
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