December 10, 2010

Goals and Challenges

This is for EMZ...
I just signed up for the Cleveland Half Marathon, which is the race that started all these fun and games, this past January 3. Well, it was the 10K then. Wonder Woman had signed up for a couch-to-half program, and this was the race she picked. She inspired me. I KNEW there was no way I'd get from couch to 13.1 miles in four and a half months, so opted for the 10K. Running a 10K had always been on my bucket list, anyway.

Superman and I had tried running before. We both enjoy our food just a little too much, and he ran in junior high. He suggested it as a way to control the waistline creep. His father is an ultra marathoner, so running is definitely in his genes. Not so much, mine. Most of my siblings are active (Big Bro races cyclocross, Dr. J runs but doesn't race, and Princess used to play soccer). We were all on the swim team at the local pool. Myself, The Energizer Bunny, and Dr. J all swam in high school. I only found out after I started racing that The Energizer Bunny has been running since college, or that she even ran in college. I remember distance swimming, not running.

So I was unfamiliar with running. The most I think I ever ran as an adult was around the bases, and that was never a non-stop trip. Superman and I did a lot of walking, which we converted to walk-run-walks. He was very patient with me, as I bitched my way through every run. I actually ran a full mile once. Everyone was astounded, including me. I don't think those attempts ever lasted more than a month or so.

After I signed up for the Cleveland 10K, I had a goal. I had a distance. I made up a random couch to 10K plan, nothing proscribed or written down. I mapped out a 10K route, and walk/ran it a couple times a week. I would run one block, walk one block. Somewhere along the way I determined I would have to actually run the distance, so tried that. I didn't make it that day, but eventually I did. I signed up for more races.
I was sidelined for several weeks by plantar fasciitis, early in the year. In my bullheaded style, I ran through the pain, figuring with no baseline in fact that it would go away. I thought it came from stomping on the ice and snow, to keep from slipping. It wasn't until I started reading that I learned the probable culprit. I've had knee problems sideline me for a week or two, here and there, as well. I have arthritis in my S1. All of this - any of this would have finished my running career, before this year.

At some point, I decided a half marathon would be more of a challenge, so signed up for one of them. Then another. Along the way, I realized I wasn't experiencing as many symptoms from my thyroid disease. Running appears to help burn off the excess chemical my thyroid produces, reducing my blood pressure and the need for the medication I'm supposed to take. When I stopped running because of knee or back pain, the symptoms would come back. I like not having to take medication.
I decided 2012 is my marathon year, and that I would like to run an ultra. I believe having a goal, a date by which I have to be able to cover a certain distance, is what keeps me going. That's why I continue signing up for races, even though I know I'll never win one. They are the carrot that keeps me running. The health thing is all well and good, but for some reason it doesn't get me out the door the way a goal and a challenge do.

I'm dreading when I can start running again, because I know it's going to suck. I'm going to have to start slow, with short distances, and it will be very uncomfortable. It will always be uncomfortable. Even so, I know I'll feel better, because I'll be accomplishing something difficult. I'll be pushing my comfort zone, and learning things about myself along the way. That feeling is also a goal and a challenge.


BabyWeightMyFatAss said...

Sounds like a great plan! I hope it works out for you!

Elizabeth said...

Good luck with your plans. Am also planning on doing the 2/13 race just haven't made up my mind yet.Coming back slow and with a very well designed program to prevent reinjuring yourself is the key, you've got a lifetime to run so no need rushing it.