Thursday, June 2, 2011

13.1 miles, anyone? part 2

After getting back into running and then not running for a few months, I "overheard" a facebook conversation between a couple of friends talking about getting together to run. It was during the kids choir practice time at our church. One of my kids was going to that choir practice and I had planned on taking her there and was hoping to be able to leave the others at home with Josh and maybe read or visit with some other parents. My first thought, when seeing their conversation, was "No way would I be able to ever keep up with them." I started thinking more about it and decided to ask if I could meet with them and figured if I couldn't go that fast, I could go at my own speed and at least I'd be running again. I added a comment to their message and they immediately encouraged me to come with them.

It was tough. I couldn't talk the entire time. We were running for 5 minutes and then walking for one. After 3 intervals, I had to walk an extra 5 minutes. I ran another interval with them and then decided to head back. Another friend said she was done, too, and ran back with me, encouraging me to keep up my pace and finish strong. I was exhausted and completely out of breath but was motivated - I wanted to get better and be able to keep up with them. I envied their conversations and the ease with which they ran. They said they'd run every week when the kids had choir practice and I decided I'd be with them.

I also decided I'd start running during the week. Suddenly, it was important to me now. I had a goal - to keep up with those girls - and I was motivated. I got up early sometimes, I ran at 8:30 at night if I had to, I ran during nap time. My regular speed on the treadmill was 5 mph, or a 12 min. mile pace. My goal was to get to 6 mph, or a 10 min. mile pace. I started setting it at 5.2 or 5.3 and by January, I was running at 6. Then I started going farther. I'd finish 5 miles and still feel great. I had never gone more than 3 miles on the treadmill before. The next week I did 6. The next, 7. I felt unstoppable. Powerful.

A friend asked me about running a half marathon. That seemed a bit excessive. 13.1 miles? All at once? I was excited about running 5ks this summer now that I was in shape but I didn't know about that long of a distance. I started to wonder if I could do it and felt a little excited by the possibility. That's when I realized I really did want to run a half-marathon. I wanted to be able to say that I trained for something and completed it. So towards the end of February, I made the commitment to run a half marathon. I had run 8 miles at this point.

My friend was planning to run a half in Kalamazoo and wondered if I'd like to train with her. Yes, I did, but this race was the same weekend as our annual garage sale. I knew I didn't want to train on my own so I decided to try to fit the race in that weekend. We started planning our training program and coordinating our calendars to make sure we could find times to run together. We even paid for a babysitter to watch our kids one afternoon so we could run 12 miles! That is something I scoffed at a couple years ago and even said out loud, "I can't imagine ever paying someone so I could go run!" And now, here I was, paying someone so I could go run. And totally loving it.

I looked at the sign-up page for the race in Kalamazoo and decided to see what other races there were. I saw one close to where my parents live and it was a couple weeks before the Kalamazoo one. We had started training early enough that we were actually ahead of schedule so I'd technically be ready. It was during Easter weekend so we could stay at my parents and Josh could run that race or a difference distance if he wanted to participate and my parents could watch the kids. It'd be nice to get it over with before the garage sale weekend. There were too many positives to not run this particular half. So I signed up.

This seems ridiculous but it appears there will be a part 3!


Jake Hall said...

This is a great series, Ang! I anticipate the next part, great story!

Allison Cooper said...

This post makes me smile. I have seen how much you have improved and it is AWESOME! I need to figure out how to stay motivated and make running a priority, because, right now, it's easy not to.