Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Running away

Something very bizarre has happened.  I fear I might be ill.  Or crazy.  Or both!  I'm almost afraid to say it out loud, so I'll whisper.

I like running!

Now, you may not think that's a sign of illness or insanity, unless you know me.  I've always enjoyed some form of exercise.  The one thing I've always hated was running.  It was boring.  It felt bad from a cardiovascular standpoint.  It sucked.  I just didn't see the point.  Treadmill or outside.  B-O-R-I-N-G.

When I was young I was a gymnast, until I dislocated my elbow in 5th grade.  Then I took up roller skating and even competed a bit in roller dance and enjoyed being an assistant teacher in exchange for lessons and free skating.  I went through an aerobics phase and was addicted to step and hip-hop aerobics for a while.  I've always loved to social dance and did the club thing for a while. In college I tried crew, which I enjoyed, but didn't keep up with because it almost killed me.  Now, I love ballroom dancing with the love of my life.  We just entered our first competition, which is another form of crazy and another discussion for another time...

About 3 years ago I decided since my life was too hectic and crazy busy with work and kids to allow for going to the gym, and working out at home just wasn't working, that I'd try running.  It was logistically the only form of exercise that I could do at 0'dark thirty in the morning or anywhere, anytime.  It was cheap and portable.  All I needed was proper attire.  I also needed the exercise as much from a physical health standpoint as I did for my emotional well-being.  So I decided my goal would be a 5K before I was 40.  I started the Couch to 5K program in May of that year and ran my first 5K about a month after I turned 40 (October).  It was not easy to train. I did not enjoy it.  I forced myself out the door every single time. I did not run anywhere near fast.  I did not run the entire race.  But I did it.  I finished alive.  I still didn't like running, but I knew that if I didn't register for another 5K, I would not stay motivated.

I found if I ran the 'fun' races, I enjoyed it more.  So I choose races for charity or those that I can run in costume, because hell, I love to dress up and be silly!  Some of my favorites are the Gobble Wobble on Thanksgiving which is in the town I grew up in, and the Jingle Bell Run, in which nearly every person runs in a holiday themed costume and being that it's in Somerville, MA, the finisher medal is a bottle opener!  I also captain Sammy's Super Stars for the NECC 5K for autism every spring in honor of my nephew.  My  husband and my boys often run with me.  My next race is the Diva Dash - an obstacle 5K for women!  It's in September.

Then, this January, I lost my mind.  I decided I wanted to run the Disney Half-Marathon!  Before I was 45.  Maybe it was too much egg nog or the cold weather did something to my brain.  I don't know what the hell happened to me!  The only thing that would motivate me to run 13.2 miles is Disney.  The memories of my childhood (and adulthood) of Disney trips, the excitement, the magic, the characters and entertainment on the course, cast members cheering you on all along the route, running down main street and through the castle, street lined with cheering spectators, including my parents as ChEAR squad members (they are Disney crazy, too), running through EPCOT to the finish with a gospel choir motivating you to the finish line?  Hello?!  Who wouldn't want to do that?!  So I convinced my sister and some friends to join me and WE REGISTERED!  Yes.  It's true.  I am running the 2014 Disney Half-marathon in January.  And yes, I'm out of my freaking mind!  For the record, I'll be 44.  :-)

Except that I'm really excited about it!  Not only is it going to be a fun girls getaway weekend, it's motivated me to ramp up my running.  I got back on track in April and ramped back up to 5K distance regularly.  I tried the 5K to 10K bridge program but it wasn't working for me.  My body just wasn't handling it well. I was feeling doubtful I would be able to do it at all.  Injury and passing out are not an option!  Running through summer is going to be hard, even if I run at sunrise, as my body does not deal well with heat and humidity and exercise.  Low blood pressure sucks in that way.

Then I discovered Galloway's run-walk-run program.  Lots of Run Disney runners use his method.  OMG, the difference is amazing!  I really enjoy running now.  I can run longer, for a greater distance and ultimately at a faster pace taking short, regular, walk breaks.  I feel fantastic!  The hills still suck, but I'm managing them much better with this method.  I purchased a GymBoss interval timer so I don't have to futz with trying to keep track on my own and I love that, too!  My goal is a 10 min/mile pace for the half.  I got a PR at my last 5K, shaving nearly 3 minutes off my previous time (I ran the 5K without stopping).  I'm presently running 5.5 miles.  I'm almost half way there!!!!

I just registered for the Tufts 10k for women in October.  It will be a good test of half the distance of the half  (does that make a whole?) and provide proof of time should I choose to use it for corral placement at the half, and assuming I run a decent race.  I actually expect to be running 10 miles by then, so it should be relatively easy.  The three of us running the half are also running the 10K together.  It should be fun!

As part of my motivation, I spent waaaaay too much time on Pinterest last night creating a vision board of my Run Disney adventure.  If you want to take a peek, you can find it here.  Part of my inspiration will be Meg.  She and I shared a love of all things Tinkerbell.  Since I do love to run in costume, and the spirit of Disney encourages such silliness, guess who I shall be.  Yep.  Tink!  I'm pulling together a Tinkerbell inspired running outfit.  I figure with the help of my own personal angel and some pixie dust, I really can fly!

Periodically, I'll post about my preparation and eventually, about the experience itself!  As the training T-shirt that I want to get says,  

"This race is my ball, my running shoes are my glass slippers, the finish line is my prince charming and the accomplishment is my happily ever after."

In the meantime, gotta run!  ;-)

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