Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Healing Thoughts

The events of yesterday keep replaying in my mind.  Not in some nightmare-ish form, fortunately, but tumbling around just the same.  It seems fitting for someone as wordy as I to find solace in writing them down. Please forgive my rambling…if you can’t follow.  This is therapy.

I was elated yesterday morning to be able to “watch” my friend Richard, from my desk at work more than 3,000 miles away, as he achieved his dream of completing the Boston Marathon.  Yes…I was working.  But, every half hour or so, I was able to look online at the “little blue man” on the Athlete Tracker map, and see that he was steadily progressing from Hopkinton, MA, toward his goal in Boston! 

Truthfully, “The Boston Marathon” is something most Americans have heard of, yet maybe have no real idea of what they’re really talking about.  Such was the case for me.  Until I pulled up the Athlete Tracker map, I had no idea that the ground he would cover was the ONLY East Coast ground I had ever set foot on.  (I spent a short amount of time in Framingham, more than 20 years ago.)  Anyway, it was fun to watch him cross the screen for 3 hours and 25 minutes.

Richard, like me, has taken the journey from severe obesity to athlete.  In fact, he is a role model for me…being quite a distance ahead of me in the game.  He has been an encourager, a realist (sharing the good, bad, and sometimes ugly), and a friend, though we have only met once in person.  I was so happy to be a “part” of his day…and I truly prayed for him throughout the day.

I had posted a congratulatory message on Facebook yesterday, and headed to lunch.  Upon my return, I saw a post regarding “bombs” going off at the finish line, and assumed it was some euphemism for the end-of-race feeling/celebration/etc.  Oh, how I wish.

Fortunately, just a couple of lines above that, I read that Richard was fine, and then Facebook lit up like crazy.  How interesting it is, in these times, that we get “news” as soon as it happens.  Sometimes that leads to chaos of misinformation, but other times – like yesterday – it helps to know that our loved ones can make contact immediately.  This was the case.  Not only was Richard fine, but I was able to confirm that some other acquaintances (Running Chicks in PDX, BariAthletes, etc.) had checked in.  

The other thing that impressed me was the solidarity that social media has been able to accomplish.  Stories of people offering rooms, meals, showers, transportation.  Rallying the running community to wear our race shirts today (ANY race shirt – participant, volunteer, or friend), as a sign of shared hope & love.  Offering up of prayers for those injured, affected, or just moved by the tragedy.

And, then a profound thought hit this morning (as I was putting on my Surf City Marathon shirt).  I no longer feel like an “imposter” in the running community.  Oh, I am FAR from any sort of BQ time.  (What is BQ?  Boston Qualifying time – which for a female my age would be a 3:15 marathon…FIVE hours shorter than my Surf City time!)  But, my heart was AT that marathon yesterday.  I felt the elation, the sweat, the tears, the joy, the heartache, and mostly the PRIDE of the global running community.  Because no matter my current level of fitness, I choose to be a part of this tribe of caring, supportive, determined folks who accept you right where you’re at.  And, who will continue to support ME as I live my fit dreams.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

She's an April Fool

It’s a well-established fact by now that I’m a bit on the “foolish” side…and it IS April…so there we have it.  Training for Marathon #2 began yesterday – you can call me the April Fool, but I am completely serious about my commitment.

I’ve struggled the past two months.  Don’t get me wrong – the stress fracture gave me the excuse to sit on my backside for “complete” marathon recovery.  But, I was released to start, gently, two weeks ago, and found no motivation to do so.  I was getting very comfortable with my free-afternoons lifestyle, and yet my mental state was going on a quick spiral downward.  I am so committed not to become one of those “regained it all” statistics, and yet my weight was creeping ever-so-slowly upward.  I need a plan!

A little over a week ago, I got a message from Uberthons – a local race organizer.  They are doing a brand-new, local event – the Oregon Marathon – in a beautiful, scenic rails-to-trails area.  Close to home, fairly affordable, and some place I can easily go scout ahead of time. Dare I even ask my better half?  Duh!  Six months to train – exactly the motivation I need to get moving…and close enough to my last event to remember the things I did right, the things I did wrong – and far enough out to have forgotten the labor pains!

I posted a message on Facebook, and got an old friend to commit to do it with me (it will be her first!), and – low and behold – the mister said it wouldn’t cause a divorce J  I’m in, with the first-day registration discount and all!

I spent last week getting my affairs in order, planning my training, figuring out logistics, being thankful I’ll be training in summer, rather than winter, etc.  And, yesterday I set out on my first post-marathon/pre-marathon run! (I was VERY surprised how strong I still am!)

You’ll remember, I’m not “really” a runner yet.  Oh, if you run, you’re a runner.  But, truly, I’m not “there” in my head yet.  I WANT to run, but mostly walk.  So, I’m starting back at “square one.”

I’m spending the next nine weeks doing the “Couch to 5K” training plan, with the intent that I WILL be able to RUN the whole 5K at the end…and in approximately 30 minutes.  (My current 5K best is more than 40 minutes.) 

The reason for concentrating on this is because my “non-runners marathon plan” encourages you to start at that point – the ability to run for 30 minutes.  That was my BIG downfall last time – I jumped the gun and started before I was ready.  I did the mileage required (for the most part), but I didn’t do the groundwork they suggested before starting, which I believe may have led to my injury.  So, this time I will follow the plan!

I’m also working on strength training in this early phase.  As the mileages get longer later in the season, it becomes difficult to fit it in, along with the hours spent running.  (I do still have a family that needs attention!)  So, I’ll get a good “base” going now.

So, there you have it – I’m officially back in action – and living my fit dreams!  Stay tuned!