Tuesday, April 2, 2013

RUN.


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My sister Cherie is a runner. She always has been. And I mean - ALWAYS. Me? No. Last summer she got me running. Well...she tried. I was slower than molasses and there were times she would be running backwards in front of me while giving me cheery pep talks with a smile on her face as if it were a leisurely stroll through the park. Ugh. She was an amazing personal trainer, though, I must say. She met with me about 4 times a week and had a set plan for my training regimen. The training included not just a running schedule but a strength training plan, water-intake guidelines, and "homework" each day. She always took into consideration my injuries and beginner runner's "roadblocks," shall we say. I hated it. I hated running. I couldn't for the life of me understand why anyone ever enjoyed it. The shin splints were horrible and then I actually pulled a muscle in my leg. I kept doing it though and then began running with my friend Lisa. Lisa was a beginning runner too but in better shape than I. She is a dedicated Zumba girl! She too was very patient and encouraging and truthfully, had it not been for Lisa, I would have quit.

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One night last September, Lisa and I ran together in my neighborhood. We had been doing this about every other day and still - I hated it. This night though something changed. I didn't think I was dying. My lungs weren't on fire. I could breathe. My legs felt lighter. My aches and pains were bearable. I was able to go longer distances without having to slow to a walk. It felt A M A Z I N G! After the run, I ran right into my house, grabbed my phone, and called my sister. I said, "I GET IT! I understand now why people do this!" That breakthrough was HUGE for me.

My sister Cherie after finishing her first half marathon last year.
I continued running with Lisa and she and I signed up for our first 5K. We did it with my sister Cherie and my dad. (My dad has always been a runner too. ALWAYS.) Though he could have completely left me in the dust, my dad literally stayed by my side the entire race. If I slowed down, he slowed down. If I sped up, he sped up to match my pace. When we could see the finish line, I kicked it in gear and ran with all that I had left in me and my dad then hung back and let me finish first - ahead of him. {sigh} Makes me teary-eyed remembering it! Though he is a man of few words, days later I got an email from him telling me how proud he was of me. That email alone made it all worth it.
Me and Lisa after our 1st 5K - September 2012
Well, the days got shorter and colder and Lisa and I quit meeting for our runs. That was in October. I have been swamped with work this winter and my 3 munchkins always keep me busy. Excuses, excuses. I have managed to fit in some Zumba and Turbo Kick every now and then. I have to admit though that there have been times when I've actually craved a run. I longed for my amazing running shoes that feel like I'm walking on marshmallows. I longed to feel the burn in my lungs and the wind on my face. Especially on the really stressful days, you know? I felt like I wanted to "run" away from it all for a bit. I missed the endorphins.

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So...this past week, we have been on spring break. No excuses. I got out the marshmallow shoes, the sports bra, the running pants. Out I went. I kept thinking about those inspirational messages you see about running that say, "The hardest step is the first step out the door." Well, I made it out the door with our 7 month old puppy Gus at my side and away we went. Assuming I would be starting from scratch, I was pleasantly surprised to realize I was not as bad off as I was when I started last summer. I couldn't run the entire 3 miles, but my stamina was way better than it had been as a true beginner. I did okay. I have run for the past 5 days and I have actually been looking forward to it each morning. I don't hate it! Yay! I told my husband about another little inspirational saying that I've seen that says something like, "Run until you either die or throw up." Evidently my four year old overheard this because when I came back from my run today she cheerfully said, "Did you throw up, Mama?"

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I have everything I need. I have support from my husband and kids! I have those amazing running shoes that I just LOVE. I have the Run Keeper app on my phone with the recording reporting to me on my progress every few minutes. I have Gus now too. He is good company, and I know he enjoys our runs. I have tons of encouragement from my sister Cherie too. Actually, she is jealous. See, my sister the amazing runner who makes it all look so easy, is super pregnant. The only running she does right now is running water for a shower. She will have a c-section here very soon and we are all so excited to meet Baby Lydia! I, however, am using this opportunity to narrow the gap a bit between her running expertise and my running...um, attempts. I figure she will have 8 weeks to recover from the c-section and then get back into shape. If I keep at it, by then I should be able to at least not have to trail too far behind her!

And so, we'll see. I need the exercise. I need the fresh air and sunshine. And more than anything, I need the endorphins. Back at it tomorrow. One day at a time. One marshmallow shoe in front of the other.

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