Monday, October 24, 2011

13.1 Miles of sheer determination

Well, I survived. Running is one of the easiest things to use as a metaphor for writing. Saturday I learned a new angle to take that comparison.

A month ago, my friend Laura and I were well on track to run a full marathon the second week of November. We ran our 14 mile long run and felt pretty good. Then I went on that wonderful cruise and fell off the running wagon.

In fact, I quit all together. Lots of excuses and 'reasons', but it boiled down to the fact I'm lazy and was depressed that I couldn't live full time on a cruise ship and be pampered like royalty.

Yeah, I'm like that.

Anyway, my good friend knew I needed some motivation. She also understands that money motivates me.

A lot.

Sad, but true.

So, she signed us up for a 1/2 marathon that took place last Saturday. For three weeks I told myself I should go run. I finally did. Once. For two miles. Yeah, not enough preparation for running thirteen.
But, early Saturday morning I was standing in line with my good friend. Thinking the whole time I was bat crazy and would probably not be able to walk for the next three days.

We ran together for the first four miles with a 2/1 group. They trained together and their strategy was run 2 minutes and then walk 1 minute. After four miles I told my friend to keep going with them and not worry about me. I kept them in sight for another three miles and then slowed down considerably.

Here's where it relates to writing.

Lesson #1:What works for someone else may not work for you. Laura has a knee that gives her problems. This 2/1 thing really worked for her and helped her knee not hurt so bad. I have problems with my lungs (long story get some of it here) and the 2/1 thing put me on the edge of hyperventilating. I couldn't settle into my rhythm and had a hard time regulating my breathing.

I think it would have been the same even if I had been running regularly before Saturday.

Lesson #2: Sometimes you can bully your way to your goal by sheer willpower/determination/stubborness. Heaven knows my body was not in the mood to run/walk/hobble 13.1 miles Saturday morning. But, by golly, I was determined to get to the finish line as fast as I could so I could go home and take a nap.

I ran slow and steady for as long as I could. Then I walked. Usually up the steepest hills. And through all the water stations.
Lesson #3: A friendly word can push you another mile down the road. Seriously. I wore these really cool mismatched zebra print knee socks. Every time someone yelled, "I love your socks!" I felt better and pushed forward with renewed strength.

I also wore a shirt that read, "Run Like A Mother". This also garnished lots of fun comments. I guess my point is sometimes we have to bring attention to ourselves to keep our egos fed. Yeah, I'm like that, too. :)
And finally, Lesson #4: Sometimes you have to let your friends and family drag/push/pull/encourage you through that last hundred feet. There is no shame in breaking down. Just don't push away those who are trying to help you. Sometimes you just need a moment of someone pulling you to remember that you are strong enough to do it yourself.

I took my shoes off for the last mile (nasty blister), so this is me holding the timing chip down to be scanned. I gained 20 minutes by not being prepared. My PR for a 1/2 marathon is 2:32:33. 20 minutes in racing is a LONG time!

Thanks, Laura and family!


  1. Impressive effort. I couldn't even fathom running that far. And I like your writing comparisons too. Very apt. :-)

  2. You did it though! That is awesome. And inspiring.

  3. Cally, LOL, I was tired when I wrote it, so I didn't take the comparison as far as I could have. But I think everyone gets the idea?

    Michael, a bit, but that was because I was unprepared. If I had been running regularly it would have been quite enjoyable. The course was beautiful if a bit hilly.

    Thanks Alex! Next time I'll be ready.


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