At first I couldn't run for 1 minute without wanting to pass out. ONE MINUTE! I didn't know my legs could hurt so much! I didn't know my lungs and heart would feel like they were going to implode! I also didn't know how quickly over time I would start to improve. My first 5k was a 45 minute exercise in trying to stay upright. My second 5k sped up to 39 minutes. No world record pace for sure, but for me an amazing improvement. In 15 month's time, I was able to run a 30 minute 5k....a full 15 minutes faster than when I began. Again, not a record pace, but wowie for me. While I felt this was a great accomplishment, I didn't even think about going any further. I would just run 5ks forever and be super Nan.
When one of my favorite races was coming up again in 2011, I was distressed to learn that the organizers had opted to not repeat the 5k race - which was one of the first I had tackled in 2010. I figured, what the heck....I will train for a half marathon...that's crazy business there... Go long or go home....I guess! So, at the urging of my running friends, I registered for the half marathon, trained for it, knowing it was going to be a challenge. So I ran/walked my first half marathon - that's 13.1 miles - on a beautifully chilly, overcast morning in Huntington Beach. Again, no world record pace. My legs felt like they were going to fall off at the end. But I crossed that finish line with victory arms. That was February 2011.
That was also 6 half marathons ago.
Yup, I have completed six half marathons this year. Six 5ks. Three 5-mile trail races. One 10k and one 11k. And a whole load of training runs. I have: blisters, calluses, black toe nails; 10+ pairs of various running shoes, goos and gels and energy beans; a kick-ass playlist on my ipod; a bunch of cute head bands, running shirts, ID bracelets, water bottles that strap to my waist or my wrist! And, I love all my medals.
Running has provided me such a wonderful way to stay healthy, take care of myself and get naturally high off endorphins, sodium pills and Shot Blox. I have incorporated running into my daily life, my crafting life, and my family's life.
Chicago Marathon - registration opens on February 1. I will also pursue the lottery/non-guaranteed entry for the New York Marathon - that won't likely happen, but wouldn't it be cool if it did? Right? Why not the Los Angeles Marathon, since I live here in SoCal? Because I want the marathon to be a big deal. I figure I can run LA anytime.....
LA, NY and Chicago are the big three marathons in the U.S., behind the prestigious Boston Marathon (which requires either a qualifying time or ample fundraising.) I would like to run Boston in the future, but let's handle one goal at a time.
My sister, Mei, lives outside of Chicago and has pledged to help me with course support when I am in Chicago. On her bike, no less - she will need it for 26.2 miles of supporting me! Not to mention the 40-odd thousand other runners! I have also met a kindred spirit on Facebook - a crafter, baker and runner (what an awesome combination!). Candi is fun, supportive and up for it too! Not to mention her boyfriend likes to drink beer and cook meat over open flames. Sounds like the recovery plan is already figured out! Our plan right now, is to dive in together. So looks like we will be busy in Chicago on Sunday, October 7, 2012.