It’s hard to believe that 3 years ago today, I was on my way to our local paved running trail. I wasn’t dressed in “real” running clothes (thick, cotton socks included), my shoes didn’t fit me properly, and I was only at the beginning of my weight loss journey. I knew nothing of running fuel (GUs, Sport Beans, and Chomps that are eaten during long runs). I had no clue that there were such things as compression socks or fuel belts, and I didn’t own the first sports bra. As I drove there, it didn’t matter that I didn’t have or know about those things. I had a crazy idea in my mind that I was toying with, and the closer that I got to my destination, the more nervous and excited I got. Maybe it was the chill in the air that made me feel extra hopeful and energetic. Maybe it was because I’d been slowly building up to it, and something inside of me just knew it was time.
By the time I drove up, I’d made up my mind. I was going to try to run the entire way today. I assured myself that I could walk if I needed to, I could stop if I had to, but, I was at least going to try. Today was going to be the day that I did something that I’d never done before. I was excited and I was scared. I had no time in mind. My goal was to finish. I clutched my Ipod in my hand that had my new Nike+ receiver plugged in along with my sensor safely secured in its pouch on my shoelaces. I had no rituals to go through, like I do now. I didn’t know what a PR was, even though I was about to set my first. I hit play on my Ipod and started running. I was RUNNING! Yes, I had been running before that, but it was running and walking. I knew that I’d shown up planning on not walking and suddenly, everything seemed different. I was slow but that didn’t matter. (My average pace was 12:08/mile.) I kept telling myself to just keep going and reminded myself that I could stop if I needed to – but I didn’t need to. As the miles ticked away in my ear (there’s a lady that speaks to you in your ear when you use the Nike+ program on the Ipod), I began to feel a sense of overwhelming excitement . I felt like a butterfly breaking out of its cocoon!! A million thoughts were rushing through my mind. I was going to be able to say to people, “I’m a runner!” I couldn’t wait to call my husband and my parents! As the final feet of my run ticked away, I was smiling while tears streamed down my face. I had done it!!! There aren’t sufficient words to describe the feelings I felt when I finished that first run. I probably looked as though I’d just won a race or qualified for Boston but it was much more than that. My life had changed and there would be no turning back. There would be setbacks but that’s just how life is. Three years and 1430 miles later, that day is forever a “Red Letter” day for me. It was a day that I was reminded that I could do whatever I set my mind to do. As I drove back home, it never crossed my mind that I’d be getting ready to run my 2nd marathon 3 years later but here I am, 3 weeks away from it. There was no “Slow is the New Fast” blog or Facebook page but because of that run, both of those exist. Those first steps I took set me in motion for things I’d never imagined. I’m so thankful for my family and friends who encouraged and prayed for me when I was first starting out and keep doing so daily. I know that I’m now a healthier version of me because of the decision I made 3 years ago. I decided that things didn’t have to stay the same. I realized that it was up to me to do something about it because I was tired of sitting on the sidelines of life and watching it go by.
If you’re reading this today and you feel like I did – like you know you need to do something different, why not start today? Take those first steps towards changing your health. It doesn’t mean you have to go run. It may mean that you make the decision to start drinking more water, eat less sugar or start walking 15 minutes a day. Whatever it is, don’t forget to celebrate those positive changes, no matter how small you think they are! Change isn’t always easy but being unhealthy and feeling bad isn’t easy either. I’ll be the first to tell you that it’s a slow process and it will take determination but it’s worth it in the end.
If you start today, who knows what you might be celebrating a year from now? 🙂
Hi everyone! No race reports from last weekend. We had considered running one on Saturday but decided to skip it and take the kids (and Flat Stanley – my nephew’s book project) to the Jackson Zoo and State Capital. It was such a fun day and even though we could have run the race that morning and then gone on our trip, we might have felt a little less than energetic by the time we got home that night.
Buckled in and ready for an adventure with our family!
Since I don’t have a race recap to give you, I thought I’d ramble on about a few things that have gone through my thoughts this week while I was running or during my few and far between moments of quiet time around here.
Isn’t it amazing how you can run one day and feel like you are most likely the worst runner that’s ever stepped foot on the earth and then, a couple of days later, you go for a run and feel like you could go on forever? This was my experience a few days ago and then on Monday. Last week it was hot and I mean super hot. (I’m sure you get so tired of hearing me fuss about heat but, guess what, it’s only going to get worse because summer is coming, haha!) I decided to go for a run on Thursday afternoon. Jason said to bring the kids, along with the jogging stroller,and he would just meet up with me after he finished up his run because he was already running at the same place. I’d been talking to my friend,Stephanie that day, who’s just beginning her journey as a runner, and she said she’d love to come along and run with me. We’ve tried several times to get together for a run with no success, so I was thrilled that we’d actually get to go. She’s still doing running with walking mixed in and I thought, since it was so warm, it would be a great day for me to take it slow and enjoy getting back to the basics. We all met up as Jason was finishing and I could tell by the sweat pouring off of him that it was going to be a lot hotter of a run than I had anticipated. I grabbed up my Ipod and ushered Steph over to our starting point, making sure to only put one earbud in my ear so we could visit a little while we ran but I could still hear my music too. I, probably like at least a few of you, don’t like running “unplugged”! For some people, they’d rather hear their breathing and feet hitting the road and stay in tune with their body. For me, I’d rather have something moving me along, especially on those runs when I start to struggle. Sometimes it just takes turning on that certain song and I can switch off my left brain that’s trying really hard to convince me to stop and switch my right brain on and push through until I feel strong again. I think if I only had my labored breathing and sluggish sound of my feet to listen to during that time, I’d probably not be able to make it.That being said….we weren’t more than 2 or 3 mins into our run and my Ipod stopped. (Noooooo!!) I was in shock at first but then remembered what was going on. Now that I have my Nike watch keeping up with my running, I don’t bring my Ipod inside after every run and plug it in to recharge it/upload. I had a miniature freak out and then decided I shouldn’t set a bad example for my new-at-running buddy. I did complain outloud (just a bit!) but decided that we’d probably visit more without the music anyway. Problem was, since she was walking/running and I was running/running, we weren’t together the entire time. I would run with her and then when she’d stop for a walk break, I’d run ahead and then turn around and come back to meet her. By that time, she’d be ready to run a little more and then we’d repeat the process. (Did I mention it was really hot that day?) By the time we had about a mile left, she told me to go on ahead and finish my part of the run out. I did it but was suffering from the torture of having no music and lack of air to breathe. After I finished, I trotted back to Steph and walked back with her. Jason had been taking pictures of us as we started our run out and was taking some of us coming back too. I was so thankful he didn’t snap any of me after I’d finished because it would have been ugly, lol! I gave Stephanie a quick hug and told her goodbye and was secretly a little happy that she didn’t stick around to see my misery in full force. I was nearly lying down on the back of Jason’s car, eyes clenched shut in pain because so much sweat had gotten in them, and feeling like I had probably just done the worst job in the world at being a good example of a runner. Honestly, for a day or two, I really began to wonder if I was losing my running mojo. That’s not a good feeling, by the way.
Just beginning our run. Pretty sure at this point my Ipod had already fizzled for the day.
Zach and Zoe relaxing in the jogging stroller.
I was pretty disgusted with how my run turned out that day but, keeping in mind that a bad run on one day can make your next good run feel great, I headed out on Monday to try again. I was thankful for much cooler temps and a chance to redeem myself frommy less than impressive performance a few days before. It was a cloudy, unseasonably cool day and it felt wonderful! I went there knowing I was going to run more than 3 miles but also knew that I couldn’t run as far as I wanted because our cat was at the vet and had to be picked up by 5:30. It was already almost 4pm so I scrapped my dreams of running 7 or 8 miles and opted for a little over 4-ish. The run that day was one of those that I didn’t want to end. I felt great, the weather felt great, my Ipod worked great…everything was..well, great. I’m not sure if it was truly the best run I’d had in a while because it wasthat good or if it just was in comparison to the train wreck of a run from Thursday. Either way, I finished feeling strong and excited that probably weren’t as bad as I had thought they were. I’ve said over and over that the heat is basically my kryptonite. Now I just need to remind myself of this when I have a bad run on really hot days!!
Now here’s something I’d like to ask you about: How do you run? Do you startle people when you approach them from behind because of your stealth-like stepping or is there no need to say a word because your feet do all the “talking” as you clip-clop along? Unfortunately for me, I’m in the second category. As I mentioned on the Run Like a Mother page today, I feel like a Clydesdale when I’m running (and not in the glorious, majestic way). I make somuchnoise and I know it’s not a good thing but I don’t know how to stop! Believe me, I’ve tried. Yesterday, while out running with my husband (who’s not only a faster runner than me but a stealth-stepper too), he was trying to help show me (again) how to take those ever elusive lighter steps. I tried and tried but no matter how I changed my stepping, the noise stayed! What’s the deal? His theory is that I’m pressing down with my foot (into the road) instead of pushing the pavement away. Seriously, I have no clue what I’m doing when it comes to this. I know what I need to be doing but somehow I can’t implement it. I’ve heard that Chi Running was helpful in learning how to run lighter and wearing Vibrams can help too. I’m sure I’m losing a lot of energy by pounding it into the pavement and I’d probably even knock off some of my time if I could ever figure it out. Have any of you had this experience and how did you fix it? I’d love to hear any suggestions that you might have for me!! I’m going to post a pic of my feet while I’m running. Maybe you can see a problem that I don’t?
How's my driving?
I forgot to mention that our run yesterday (besides obsessing over every step I took) was a really good one again. It was another cool afternoon and the company wasn’t so bad either. 🙂 I love being able to run with Jason although I know he probably feels like he’s going at a snail’s pace, he never complains, only encourages me and that means a lot to me.
So, those are a few of my thoughts this week. Zach is already out of school for the summer and my older kids have next week and they’ll be finished, which means our Florida vacation will be just around the corner! Our racing will significantly slow down during the heat of the summer but I’m sure I’ll still have more than enough to blog about. I’ve still got to fill you in on our Nike watches, some of my supplement/eating tips and I’ve got to keep you up to date on my quest to become a quiet runner (and faster one too).
In regards to my Ipod dependence that I mentioned earlier, I wanted to see how many of you have (or don’t have) a music dependency when you run. So, here’s a quick poll I’ve set up just for you:
One more thing! My blog has had over 3000 hits as of this week since I created my first post on March 22, 2011. This is so exciting for me (even though I’m sure some blogs get that many a day, lol) because when I started out, I figured I’d have mostly family and a few friends reading it. I never dreamed that I’d have as many readers as I do and I want to thank YOU for that! I also appreciate all of my other fellow bloggers that have linked my site to theirs, Rod’s Racers for promoting my blog and Facebook page and to the ladies at Another Mother Runner for profiling my blog on their site and sending a lot of new readers my way.
Thanks again to all of you for being such an encouragement to me! (And for looking over my writing errors that I’m quite certain I miss sometimes.) 🙂