Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Baby Steps

***if you are new here, and have no idea what this is going to be about you have two intelligent choices:

a) Leave Now.

b) Start here, then work your way back, m'kay?

I now had a goal, a deadline and a party to hold me accountable. Sure that date was a looong way off and the person tasked with holding me accountable was less than enthusiastic about actually running the race, but still, this was enough to convince me that it was time to hunker down and get serious about this running stuff…as soon as the holidays were over. And it warmed up a little. And…

Excuses are so incredibly easy to come by. If you can’t find one, it takes next to no time at all to craft one. And I? Am an artisan.

Knowing this about myself, I braced for impact and let that nature butt heads with the other side of me: the stubborn one. I knew that, given the chance to wrestle it out, the stubborn side stood a fighting chance.

In early spring, I started doing something that shocked no one so much as myself…I changed my alarm clock to start waking me up at 5AM (ha! Take that 7AM!!) and stopped allowing myself to press snooze. I started getting out of bed, bundling up, and heading out my door to run. Every morning. In the beginning, it was a roughly 2 mile trot. Slowly but surely, I found ways to add a little distance here, a little distance there. So 5 days a week, I dragged myself out of bed, at the o’dark thirty, and ran around my neighborhood. On the weekends, I would go to the local rails to trails and run a longer run, roughly 5 miles. I was proud, but concerned…I wasn’t even clocking 15 miles a week at this point. How was I ever going to get to 26.2 miles in a single outing?
A little later that spring, business required me to start traveling to KY for a week out of each month. Much as I hated to leave my family, it occurred to me that it might be novel to run in a city, and seeing as I was to be staying in downtown Louisville, I knew I was about to get my big chance. The first morning that we were there, I awoke before the sun, pulled on my pants and headed out of the hotel. I had no idea where I was going, and what were the “good” and “bad” parts of town. Now…a quick note for those of you that may not realize this…I come equipped with my own form of GPS…that is Ghetto Positioning System. If there is a bad part of town? I will wind up there. So this? Not one of my more well thought out plans to be sure.

Anyway… I decided to just go. I quickly devised the ad hoc plan to just run to each intersection and let the lights dictate my route. Whichever crossing had the walk sign, that was the way I would turn. I carried on this way for a couple of miles, without incident. I ran through a little neighborhood of tidy looking brownstone type buildings, when I saw an SUV, stopped in the middle of the street, with its lights on and doors open. Something seemed a little dodgy about this to me, so I deemed this just as good a time to turn around and head back as any. As I did, I looked up and noticed that the building I had opted to stop and reverse directions in front of? The homeless shelter. Of course it was. Because I? Am never more than two turns away from being lost in the ghetto.

Later that morning, I told the story to my boss and coworkers. My local colleagues? Urged me NEVER to do that again. And I was instructed to run inside. On the treadmill. Suffice it to say that I did that one morning and then spent the rest of the trip with my running shoes in the closet.

Soon after I returned, my partner in crime came out to visit from MN, and we went for a run together. I almost broke him, and really worried that he was going to back out. (He didn’t.) It was at this point, that my husband (and kids) decided that they too would like to start running. To say that this shocked and amazed me would be something far shy of an understatement. My husband, up until this point had always stated that he only ran when being chased or chasing something. Apparently he had decided that perhaps it would be fun to chase me. I'm so glad that he did. But that is another whole blog post in and of itself.

The next month, when I returned to Louisville, one of my local colleagues had taken the time to find me a safe route to run…which I did, every morning. But before I left for Louisville...the morning before I left, to be exact, I ran another 5K, the Cumberland Valley Rails To Trails Race, Ride and Ramble...this time with my husband and son. I PR'd by almost 3 minutes, coming in at 28:03, and finishing second for my age division.

When I returned from that trip, I picked up right where I had left off, still running 5 days a week, now 2 times a day on soccer practice days plus one weekend run. Though I had a fantastic frequency going, I still didn’t seem to be able to break that distance threshold. I was already getting up at the crack of dawn, to run my paltry 2 miles…how on earth was I ever going to get my distance any further, without getting up even earlier?? I really started to fret.

Before too long, it would be time to head back to KY. I knew I already had one “safe” route in my pocket, but I really kind of had a hankering to find some other courses. A little Googling and I found an app and website, called WalkJogRun. You plugged in where you were, and it would spit out any local route that other runners had saved. Perfect! I quickly downloaded the app and started looking. Before long, I noticed that it also had a number of training plans available. I found one for a first time marathon, loaded it, and almost immediately had a gigantic sense of relief. It was May. The program was 20 weeks long. I had 20 weeks until the marathon. I could do this!

And so I began really training for my very first marathon.


Anonymous said...

Funny; I have the exact same GPS system. It never fails me!

You write really well. If you lived closer, I'd suggest you sign up for the TMI project.

Duchess said...

Aww, thanks...what is the TMI project?

Anonymous said...

It's a writing and monologuing project with which I've been involved for the past year. ( I don't say this often (ie, ever), but it's been life changing work.