Misadventures with wine, weights, and running shoes.

The Year in Retrospect

Saturday, November 23, 2013

I can not believe it! It has been almost a full year since I started this journey and what an amazing year it has been. What better way to honor the last year than with a brief recount of my experience.

On December 2, 2012, I showed up at an elementary school in Annapolis, Maryland, wide eyed and apprehensive about what was to come. Twenty or so other women and men joined me; all varying in age and fitness level. I had painted a picture in my head of what runners would look like. None of them matched that picture - they all looked like me. They all looked nervous, excited, and a little bit scared. They were all starting off in the same place I was - in the beginning. 

To say that I fell in love with running from that first moment my foot hit the pavement would be a lie. To be honest, I spent the majority of my 5k training hating it. I was cold. The air made my lungs hurt. I was out of shape, overweight, and miserable. Despite wanting to give up, I stuck with it. 

There is something to be said for group training...it helps to hold you accountable.

Over the course of the program, I had become aware of friends that had taken up running. I sat in the shadows lurking, watching their facebook posts and thinking - seriously, what do you people see in this? What was I missing? How are they actually smiling in those pictures? I know...they are faking those smiles. No one can actually enjoy running that much- can they?

It really boggled my mind, so I began searching out motivational images to start posting on my timeline to help push me a long. I made comments about wanting to run a half some day...I really didn't. I made the absurd statement about wanting to run Blue Ridge...alright, I actually kinda wanted to do that because it just seemed, well impossible and yet, not impossible at the same time.  The funny thing about all the motivational stuff is....it worked.

Two and a half months later, on a frigged cold February morning, I stood at the starting line of the Annapolis Striders Valentines Day 5k. I was with the majority of the same women and men that I started with. I was cold and worried and wondering what exactly in the hell I was doing there. Honestly, sane people do not run in freezing cold weather - do they? Based on the attendance, there are A LOT of crazy people. Oh wait...I am among them...what does that make me? Oh, right...absolutely nuts. 
2013 Annapolis Striders
Valentines Day 5k - Photo courtesy
of Jon M. Valentine

As I waited for the gun to fire, I promised myself that I would keep running until I hit the finish line and, as instructed by my coaches, smile for the camera that would be there just before that finish.

The actual race was a painful cold blur but I did not stop and I did force a smile for the camera as I approached and then crossed the finish line. 

Then I went home and signed up for another 5k. What can I say, I am a glutton for punishment. I also have a good network of pushers - people that can convince you to run "one more race."  I ran that "one more race," followed by another...and another...and another. 

Then something really strange happened; something I did not expect. 

I actually began to enjoy it. I started to REALLY enjoy it. 

My mileage started to creep up as did new goals - Let's do a 10k...it is only two back to back 5k races. What's the big deal? So off I went. I trained and then ran my first 10k...or almost 10k because the race organizer really screwed up the route. 

With six miles down, what's another four miles? Not much...and what do you know, they had training for ten miles. Naturally I signed myself up for it and the Army Ten Miler which involved setting my alarm for 11:50 pm so I would wake up ten minutes before registration opened. The event has a history of filling all 35,000 slots in a matter of hours. 

Oh, and that half marathon that I had said that I wanted to run when I really didn't...well, I signed up for one of those too and actually wanted to run it. Probably because something occurred to me...a half marathon is only three more miles and how awesome is it that the coaches for the ten mile training extended it to half marathon training? Well it was really damn awesome. 

Obviously, from my previous posts, I met my half marathon goal. The best part is, I am not finished. That completely ridiculous idea I had - the one about running the Blue Ridge Half Marathon - well, I still need to tackle that one. After all, I have a shirt to earn - a shirt that an anonymous individual gifted me. Ok...whether it was a gift or a curse has yet to be seen but either way, I must earn it before I can wear it and I am determined to wear it.

Blue Ridge will be a huge challenge. They don't call it "America's Toughest Road Race" for nothing and that will hold especially true now that they announced the addition of Peakwood Mountain to the route. For those that are not aware, the original route included 2,528 feet of elevation change. With the addition of Peakwood, the elevation change hits 3,600 feet. That means it is time to get serious with training. I have four to five months to get my butt (literally) in gear for this race. 

Wonder if I can find a personal trainer that wants to take pity on me and donate their time to getting me in the right shape to conquer Blue Ridge. 

8 comments on "The Year in Retrospect "
  1. While I have yet to conquer my half marathon (May 2014) our stories are very similar. I ran my first 5k for a work sponsored event and had 5 weeks to prepare. Then I signed up for another, and another and another ... November 3rd I raced my first 10k and squashed my goal time. Thanks for stopping by my blog ... I've added you to my Bloglovin feed and look forward to reading about your future misadventures :)

    1. Anita, you've got this! Stick with the training and you will get there. I thought my coaches were nuts until I found myself at the starting line of my first half! I can't wait to read about your progress. I'll be cheering you on.

  2. I was the same way with slowly creeping up my race distance. I used to dread running two miles and said I would never be a long distance runner, but now like you, I just recently conquered the 13.1 this month! Looking forward to following your training for that race...it sounds like it's going to be a good challenge! :)

    1. Hailey, it is definitely a life changing experience. Have you caught the full marathon bug yet? I'm actually starting to think seriously about it.

  3. Ha ha you have the bug. It's funny how so many people sign up for a race as soon as they finish one. I love it. Good luck with Blue Ridge! Rock it!

    1. Thank you, Crystal! I've got a ton of training ahead. Taking my first Spin class tonight. Yikes.

  4. Wow I can't belive how far you've come in a year, thats amazing! I'm sure you'll love training and the marathon:)

    1. I do enjoy the training...even the training that kicks my butt. Hoping to hit a local trail with friends soon. I really want to get more into trail running.