Monday, May 3, 2010
And I Was Running...
This post is completely self indulgent and has nothing to do with being a mom, other than it happened to me. I will return you to your regularly scheduled programming next week.
My history with running is a torrid one. As a chubby kid with rheumatoid arthritis, it's fair to say that the only running I did was chasing the ice cream truck. Once when I was a teenager I was watching my younger siblings while my parents went for a walk (and I sat on the couch. Hence the aforementioned chub). My brother, who is severely allergic to bees, picked that time to walk into a bees' nest and ran to the house screaming, covered in bees. I threw him in the pool and attempted to run the 1/2 mile to find my parents and let them know that their youngest child was in grave danger. When I finally reached them, I was soaked in sweat and breathing so hard all I could do was gasp for air, point to the house and attempt to squeak out the word "bees." He turned out fine, in case you wondered. A bottle of Benadryl does a body good.
After I graduated high school, I learned that the most efficient way (for me) to shed baby fat was running, so I ran for 20 minutes a day on the treadmill. I hated it. I spent the drive to the gym thinking about how much it was going to suck and the entire 20 minutes staring at the countdown on the screen until it mercifully reached 0. I heard of friends who ran marathons and half marathons and laughed, putting them into the same category as friends who did yoga and were vegetarians-great for them, but that would never be me. I would have rather stuck pins in my eyes than willingly run for 4+ hours.
When my daughter was six months old and I still had 20 extra pounds hanging around, a few friends told me they planned on running a half marathon that was about 4 months away. Needing an extra incentive to lose the weight, I signed up. 4 months of training turned out to be really not that bad. There were times I even considered it to be fun. I got to leave the baby with Daddy for a few hours on Saturday mornings and run with friends. Then I got to eat an exorbitant amount of food and not feel guilty. Win-win. When race day arrived, I joined 30,000 other people and ran 13.1 miles. There were times that it sucked, but it was fun and I didn't die. Better still, I finished with a somewhat respectable time (2:07) for a novice runner, which lit a fire in me to continue training.
I kept up my mileage and 2 weeks ago heard about a half marathon in Dallas that looked like a lot of fun-totally laid back, 90% women, and only 1600 participants, so with my sweet hubby's blessing I signed up. I thought I for sure could break 2 hours and might even be able to break 1:50, so I planned on finding the 1:50 pace guy (dude with a balloon that would run the race in exactly 1:50...perfect for dummies like me who can't pace themselves) and sticking to him like glue. I got to the start of the race and discovered that there was no 1:50 pace guy, so I put myself in the front and just started running...quickly. I felt like a million bucks. I felt so good that I found myself on the tail of the 1:40 pace guy, introduced myself and told him I would just stick with him for awhile if that was OK. This seemed like a great plan, as I was thinking at this point that I was Paula Radcliffe and finding untapped talent. Suddenly, at the 7 mile mark, I got tired. Tired like a bus hit me and had dragged me around for about 7 miles. I started asking spectators if they would carry me for a few miles (they laughed....not sure why they thought I was joking). I was getting passed by a bunch of skinny childless girls in sports bras and tall Kenyan looking men. For 6.1 miles I plodded along, cursing myself for starting out so fast and deciding to run in the first place. I should have stuck to board games and Jeopardy...I was good at both of those. Finally, I heard the announcer's voice over the loudspeaker and realized I was almost there. I found a tiny bit of energy left, kicked it in and finished in 1:42. 1:42!! Some (non-Kenyan) people consider that fast! When the day was over, I ended up 20th overall and 2nd in my division (Moms of Toddlers....so maybe the skinny girls passing me were not childless).
Today I feel like death....knees hurting and I could use about 12 hours of straight sleep. I'm hanging up the running sneakers for awhile, as it appears that my reproductive system doesn't like running as much as I do and Captain Destructo needs a little sibling at some point (to save from bee stings). But the moral of the story, Mommies, is (voice of Bela Karoli) You Can Do IT! Don't be scared to try something you think might be too hard. You might surprise yourself.
P.S. I hope this doesn't sound like bragging. I've never ever won anything athletic in my life so I hope this is what is considered an appropriate level of pride.