Friday, December 2, 2011

Night before

Twas the night before race time and all through the house (er apartment), not a runner was stirring, not even a pup. 

Hehe I hope you enjoyed my little silly-time there! Well, the Hot Chocolate 15k is finally here! All of our training and prep and mental angst (at times) is over, and now race time has come. Honestly, my only goal for tomorrow is to finish and to have run the whole race. That is always the beauty of running new distances. No set time goals. I mean I do want to run it faster than we did in practice, since I felt like the slowest runner on earth during that run! All I know is I am excited!! 

Time for bed, though, and I will share all the race details tomorrow!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Why I'm Here

Hello blogosphere! Welcome to my little space! If you have found me, I hope you are ready to hear all kinds of rants and raves about running from the perspective of a non-runner. Yes, I am not a runner. Or at least I am not someone who comes by running naturally. Perhaps in time it will begin to feel natural, but for now it is something that still feels so foreign, yet is pulling me in. I think if I tried to explain every detail of why I run, we would be here all night, and no one wants that when you have about a bajillion other blogs on your list to read :) So why not stick with the short version, eh? You're welcome.

All of my life I have been an active person, with swimming being my drug of choice all the way through college. After school, however, I was living on a journalism intern's salary (aka definitely not able to pay for a gym membership to continue swimming) and seeing the toll of a sedentary lifestyle in just a few short months. Thankfully, my new roommate had been an avid runner when she lived in NYC, and wanted me to start running with her. Though I whined and complained that I hated running more than anything in the world, she got me to lace up those kicks, and hit the pavement. For 15 minutes at a time. Yes, that was all I would give her in the beginning. Slowly she worked me up to 20, and then even more slowly to 25. We kept with this routine, occasionally throwing in a 30 minute-er if we felt really adventurous. We didn't even bother trying to track distance- we were merely focused on getting out and being active for 25-30 minutes a few times a week. It was all I needed at the time. Just a little cardio to ward off weight gain. So we kept at it for a few months, never feeling the need to push. We were content in our routine.

Then in July my routine changed. I found myself unemployed after a year long internship with a major newspaper. I was a 20 something singleton with a DC rent to pay and no income. And every resume sent out went unanswered. I felt like an absolute failure. I was purposeless. No one really needed me to even get out of bed every day. And yes, of course I am being dramatic, because that is how it felt. I should probably explain at this time, that I have major control issues. I won't bore you by going into details of events that occurred to get me there, but we will suffice it to say I need to feel in control of my life. And at this point in time I felt 100% out of control. I was alone and jobless and unhappy. In the past, I had satiated my need for control in unsafe manners that only led to more unhappiness. I was wiser now, though, and I was sure of the fact that I didn't want to head back down those dark paths.  I knew I had two choices. I could play the woe is me card and give into a depressed state of feeling totally worthless. Or I could get off my ass, get out the door and regain control in at least one area of my life. I found the door. I made the decision to turn myself into a runner. I started reading all kinds of running blogs, mostly those of marathoners and distance runners, and realized I wanted to complete a distance race. I gave myself a goal that I was completely and solely in control of. Each time I got another "We appreciate your interest in our company..." email, I grabbed the shoes and ran. I couldn't control if those companies didn't want me, but I could absolutely control my reaction to the rejection. I chose to take it in stride - literally.

I run because it is more than I think I can handle. Each time I push myself to a new distance, I am not sure I will even be able to make it. And then I do. And that is a total high. Testing the limits of what my body can physically handle, and watching in surprise as it handles more than I ever thought possible is exhilarating. Sure, 9 miles may be a piece of cake to so many out there. But for me, in the here and now, it is like reaching the top of my own Mt. Everest. And I know that when I push to 10 and 11 and 12 and finally to 13.1 (in March!), each new distance will give me that same incredulity and pride in what I am capable of. It is a different feeling than I ever experienced in all my years of swimming. I never questioned whether I could physically complete a race, it was just about whether I would complete it in a fast enough manner. Running is this game of paradoxical mystery to me. I run because I can control it, yet the high comes from never knowing if I can make it.

So I guess that is the short and skinny of it. (Ok, so I tried to keep it short. I promise next time to do a better job :)) I will be totally honest and say that I have no idea where this journey will take me. Perhaps it will lead me to join that elite club of 26.2-ers. Or maybe my foray into distance running will stop at 13.1 because that will be all my body can do. And maybe I will wake up one day and the high will cease to exist, and I'll find myself pounding the pavement purely to avoid total guilt when I enjoy spoonfuls of the ever delightful Ben and Jerry's. Who knows. That is what is so exciting. And I hope you will be here with on my journey of finding out.

Until next time!