Monday, August 27, 2007

5ish K...

As I have mentioned (or perhaps have not yet mentioned in earnest), I am a non-athlete. I realize loads of people claim the same, but I... seriously.... am not athletic. I played high school softball (quite badly) and I had the near-dead-last finish in the aforementioned sprint triathlon, but, outside of these efforts, my athletic slate is quite clean.

Beginning a running regimen (which is probably more than a little of an overstatement) was completely easy and came totally naturally to me. HA! I found a "couch potato to 10K" running schedule online (where did we ever manage to get information before the internet tubes were invented by Al Gore?), and thought it sounded like a nice, and more importantly, cheap, form of exercise. The first two weeks said to "Walk 30 minutes Sunday, Tuesday, and Friday". CAKE.

I walked over an hour on all six days. I thought to myself "Self, you are going to DOMINATE all things running".

Week three called to: "walk 8 minutes, jog 5 minutes, walk 7 minutes, jog 5 minutes, then walk 5 minutes, on Sunday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday". This time, I thought to myself "Self, you are a freaking idiot." I could not run 5 minutes without getting winded and having to stop, and I felt like an incredible failure. But I kept going.

Week after week, I shuffled along, down the sidewalk, past the horribly ferocious sounding dog (hahaha, you can't reach me!)...past the pile of horse poo in the road (we pick up after our dogs.... can't someone get a big baggie out there to scoop this mound of poo off the road?)... Eventually I was running several minutes without stopping or getting winded. It was great, and I thought to myself "Self, lets try to run a 5K". And that's exactly what I did.

I realize that what I am about to do will put me in a position to be the subject of a large amount of ridicule and finger-pointing and laughter all around... but... I will share anyway, as I firmly believe that I should be concerned with running "my own race" as they say. HERE is my pace chart for my first 5K:

SEE? Slow. I told you. My cheeks are flushed with embarrassment. Nonetheless, it was a complete 5K. Notice how I "ran" all the way.

I subject myself to neverending ridicule so that I can ask this question: If the above is my FIRST ever 5K, then WHY in the world does my SECOND 5K look like this?

Notice how I clearly did not "RUN" very much at all? ARGH. I have a multitude of reasons (read: excuses) for why this latest 5K turned out to be such a huge disaster, but I will not bore you with them all. I will, rather, point out that it most logically has to do with my very lax training schedule as of late. I am terribly disappointed with my latest performance, and I'm hoping that a shiny new Team in Training training schedule to hang on my fridge will help motivate me in ways that my old manky internet-based schedule hasn't been lately.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

And how it begins

Who knew puking on the beach in front of a not small group of friends could ultimately lead to your proudest achievement?

When I first considered completing a triathlon, I thought, as did many of my own friends and family, "yeeeeaaaaahhhhhh....uh-huh". I thought it sounded like a fun idea, as diet/exercise plans always sound when you're just
talking about them as opposed to experiencing them. I thought that I probably wouldn't finish the whole plan, but at least it would get me out there exercising for a few weeks, until my horribly predictable will-power expired.

A couple of months later, after many many days of sweating in the south Florida sun, imagine my surprise (nay, shock and awe) when I found myself plodding (slowly) toward the finish line!

In the days and weeks that followed, I realized that completing that sprint tri, however slowly, was the hardest thing I'd ever done. Ok, Ok. I realize that a "sprint" tri is NOT A BIG DEAL. But, to me, it was huge. It was the first time I ever had to try really really hard at something.

So, now, I'm starting to run. Because I want to get that feeling again, the one that you can only get when you work really hard and earn it by trying and trying and trying when all you want to do is quit. I have decided to run a half-marathon because it is HARD (but not toooooo hard, like a real MARATHON would be).