Monday, July 7, 2014

4 miles? No problem. That one time I thought I was a Kenyan

Once upon a time, I was a runner.  I laced up my shoes early every morning and logged in my miles; and I even trained for a marathon.
Then last week I decided it was time to get back to racing and signed up for a 4 mile race.  Piece of cake, right?  I mean, I have logged up to 30+ miles per week; how hard can 4 miles be?

What I seemed to have forgotten is that I had not run in a YEAR.  That's right.  A WHOLE YEAR.  And those 30+ miles per week were logged 7 years ago.  

Somewhere inside this crazy brain, I convinced myself that I was part Kenyan; and since my body has logged that many miles before, it would remember how to do 4 miles easily.  Insane idea?  Absolutely.

I signed up for the race; and told myself even if I didn't finish, the fee went to a worthy cause.  Besides getting on my elliptical machine at home; and taking the stairs at work; I have done no other form of exercise in a whole year.  I know what you are thinking.  She is either crazy; or she certifiably insane.  

I got up early on July 4th and headed out to meet destiny.  I had one goal: to finish.  I didn't care if I was slower than "a stampede of turtles running through peanut butter" (Gotta love that phrase!); I was determined to finish all 4 miles.  Pace was simply not important, just survival.

So the race began.  First half mile and my legs were burning and my shins hurting.  I know the feeling all too well since this is what it feels like every time I get on the elliptical so I pressed on.  I got this, that's what I told myself.

Then I came to the first hill of many and became certain I was either going to die; or going to hurt for a while.  Who knew there were these many hills in our town? I certainly didn't.

First mile was over; and I had gone uphill twice.  Someone was playing a practical joke on me; this was supposed to be an easy 'get back to running' race!  

Mile 2 took me to the lake in town.  Nice setting; how can you not enjoy running around such a placid place?  Let me tell you how:  HILLS.  All around the lake.  At this point, I'm considering calling it quits, calling my husband to come get me, and doing the walk of shame out of there.  

This was the point where I began to talk to myself. Part was motivational, the other half was "what the heck were you thinking, you crazy woman" speech.  I reminded myself of all things I had accomplished in life, including surviving twins; so this was a piece of cake, right?

The struggle continued in my head and soon I had made it to Mile 3.  Can't quit now, I told myself.  You just have one mile left.  Quitting now would really be embarrassing.  That was until I realized this last mile would be UPHILL.  Who designed this course?  Someone who was trying to make a quitter out of me? I was not quitting, I told myself.  I was finishing even if they had to pick me off the ground at the finish line!

Then I saw the most beautiful sight closer to the finish line, my husband and kids cheering me on.  I smiled, almost cried, and kept on because I really couldn't quit now that they were watching, right?

In the end, I finished all 4 miles, and my time was better than I had anticipated.  I crossed the finish line, found my car, and headed home before I got stiff and couldn't drive.  ha!

I learned a few lessons that day.  Sometimes you can't prepare for what life brings.  All you have is willpower; and the desire to overcome your obstacles.  Keep your eyes on the prize and keep on going.  If you are believer, as I am, then you pray for the endurance to finish the race laid out before you.  As I did.  

Now I'm ready for the next race.  Because apparently the insanity stayed, even after the sore muscles.  I'm ready to run again!

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