Saturday, November 07, 2009

A Competitive Streak

I've been running quite a lot lately. It helps me to clear my mind and have some unadulterated "Me Time" away from Truman, Craig, The Cancer, work, and the daily grind, in general.

I ran my first 5K four years ago this weekend- the Jingle Bell 5K in Milwaukee. That was the first time that I RAN a whole race, without stopping to walk. That first year included quite a few milestones: my first duathlon- the Coulee Duathlon, my first 10K- Revols 10K in Cleveland (where I set a PR pace of 9:31/mi), and my first triathlon- the Danskin. I kept running through 2007, although my times got progressively worse leading up to the Madison Half Marathon in May 2007 (which I ran at a 12:11/mile pace).

Then, I don't know what happened. Life, I guess. I ran, but it was much more recreationally than for speed or fitness. When I got pregnant last year, I got it in my head that I would do a triathlon this fall and that goal would help me to lose the baby weight from my pregnancy. Well, The Cancer came instead and suddenly I couldn't see how I would find time to bike and swim, let alone run. But I DID find time to run. And do a boot camp this summer. And, what do you know, I lost that baby weight. Suddenly, the thought of training for a race didn't seem so far fetched.

Around this time, a girlfriend of mine who's a personal trainer (Hi, Julie!) mentioned that she was going to run the White Rock Lake Half Marathon. "Hmmmm....," I thought, "I've run a half marathon before. I bet I could do it again if I put my mind to it." A dream was born.

I've been gradually building up my distance and ran a 7 miler one morning during the first week of Craig's treatment. It was pretty much by accident. Truman woke me up at 4am. He went back to sleep but I couldn't. So, I figured, "Why not get up and go for a run? And since I'm hitting the pavement early, I've got time to go a little bit further than I usually do." And it felt great.

This morning, I did a 10K (6.2 miles) race with the goal of just getting my time back under a 12:00/mile pace. Mile 1- I ran about 10:45. I thought, "Maybe I should slow down a little so I don't wear myself out. But I feel pretty good, maybe I can keep this up." Each mile marker after that, I realized that not only was I NOT running 12 minute miles, but I was running 11 minute miles. And I kept that pace pretty steady through the whole race, finishing in 1:07:14.83. For those keeping track, that is a 10:59/mile pace!

I am ELATED!

I didn't just meet my goal, I kicked it's ass to the curb.

It feels so good to challenge myself again. To have something to look forward to and TRAIN for. It's so much different that just going out for a run because I know I need the exercise. I'm going out for a run because I need to build up my strength and endurance for the next race.

And, speaking of the next race, the "big" one is ony 5 weeks away:
Thanksgiving Day, 11/26: Turkey Trot (8 miler)
12/5: White Rock Lake Half Marathon (13.1 miles)

I guess this means that I'll have to find something else to train for after that, too. For now, I think I'll have to stick to running, since it's the easiest thing for me to fit in to my life at the moment. Maybe I'll try to keep improving my pace and endurance and do a full marathon next year. Wow. Never thought that would ever even be a POSSIBILITY.

It feels so good to dream.

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