Thursday, September 9, 2010

Running ... yup, the entire post is about running!

(M congratulating me at the end of the race)

Life goal #2 is well on it’s way to being completed thanks to a Herculean effort this weekend that resulted in the completion of my first half marathon (that’s 13.1 miles who have always wondered but didn’t want to have to ask)!!! Well, “Herculean” may be a little overstated considering I hobbled to the finish line more than 9 minutes after I had dared to dream I would, but I finished it – damnit – and that is surely something to be proud of!

It’s been a long, frustrating road to get to this place. I first started training for a marathon 3 years ago when Ashley and I started running together; overuse and not having medical insurance resulted in 2 years off due to major knee pain that made it difficult to walk, stand, sit … you know, all those simple things we take for granted. Running was completely out of the question during this time. When I finally got medical insurance again I went through 3 months of physical therapy and chiropractic work, and I was finally able to run again … for about 4 months when I developed ANOTHER overuse injury which was not – thank god! – a stress fracture like my doctor originally thought, but was still a hugely painful muscle strain in my groin. I missed my first ½ marathon in May due to this injury and have been running again since July (so, all things considered, I guess a time o 2.09 isn’t horrible, and I didn’t injure myself during the run, so … yay!). While I haven’t technically registered for the race yet, I plan to run the full marathon May 1, 2011 in Eugene and am bound and determined to make it there injury free!!

While you might imagine that I questioned the intelligence of continue to run during the last 3 years, my dedication to running only increased during this time. I had a lot of down time to consider my body and healthy and how running fits into my life; this was especially true during my last injury, and while I couldn’t actually run I read, A LOT, about running: running injuries, running stories, running plans and theories, physiology of running, history and evolution of running, running for beginners, running for elite athletes, running greats and giants … I spent more time reading about running than I usually did actually RUNNING, and it all lead me to one conclusion … it’s wonderfully insightful and unexpected … wait for it … waaaaait foooor iiiiit … I’m a runner!! Whoa! Earth shattering revelation, no?! Stop rolling your eyes, accept that this is an entire blog post about running, be happy that most of the whining is over and let me explain.

I have been running for a good chunk of my life – I started my freshman year in high school on the cross country team and we’ve had an on-again, off-again relationship since then, but even during the “off-again” stages – purposeful or accidental – I’ve always known I would go back to it; I’ve always known that running would be, in one way or another, apart of my life. We all choose attributes to define ourselves – to others, to ourselves: scholar, parent, artist, teacher, humanitarian, etc., etc. Through this self reflection, I finally consciously named what I’ve always felt: I am a runner; this is part of how I define myself, this is part of who I am and what makes me me; I not particularly GOOD, mind you – I’ve never made claims to the contrary – but I love it, I always come back to it regardless of the length of time I’ve been away, I talk about it – always trying to convince people they should take it up (I believe that virtually everyone can and should run), I read about it, I plan my life around it to some degree (I do already have my running schedule figured out – more or less – until next May!) … hell, I even dream about running! Running is something I have in common with the vast majority of my friends. I take an enormous amount of pride in knowing that I can go out and run 10+ miles whenever the mood strikes me, and that the mood strikes me often! I feel beautiful, strong and graceful when I’m running in a way that I don’t at any other time – the sweatier the better. I’ve even decided that the best way to die would be when I’m really old, on a long run, at that point when my body relaxes into the run and I know I could go on forever and ever … and then I simply drop dead … sounds great, no?!

So, that’s that – an entire, self-indulgent (what blog isn’t?) blog post about running! Thanks for reading my revelation, and remember – everyone not only can, but should run!!

Okay, specs of the race, for those of you interested (and, really, who isn’t?!). I had PLANNED to go out at 10 minute pace, drop it down to 9.30 until mile 4, 9.15 until mile 9 and sub-9s to the finish. Yep, that was the plan – beautiful, well thought out … in reality my splits were: 10.12, 9.29, 9.37, 9.41, 9.22, 9.34, 9.43, 10.05, 10.04, 31.50*, and 9.26, with an overall time of 2 hours, 9 minutes and 53 seconds.

*I was apparently very tired at this point and forgot to mark miles 11 and 12, so 10, 11, and 12 were completed in 31.50, which is approximately 10.50 pace for each – oy!