I am a little delayed at getting this installment done due to the events in Boston. Just didn’t seem so into it last week for obvious reasons.
So I started getting up at 5am in order to my C25K runs done. That is also something new to me. Getting up early to exercise…totally not me. But if I was serious about this running thing, sacrifices had to be made. It was either run in the nice cool morning or run in 100 degree heat of the Central Valley sun. Not really a choice in my mind. I had bought a nice (on clearance of course) Day-Glo green running jacket to be seen by the early morning traffic and hit the road. After the 9 week training plan, I had made something of myself. 5K Straight! While a huge accomplishment to me at the time, it was just a start.
On the weekend after my 44th birthday in December, I entered a local 5K. No real goals in mind other than run it and get a taste of the race. Ran my heart out and came in at 29:18. Not too shabby. Good enough for 3rd in my age group but unfortunately no prize for that in this little race. I got a nice red long sleeved tee and the pride of finishing my firsts 5K. Also, weight was down to around 202 lbs. which was another great side effect.
For the next month or so I kept running 3 miles 3 days a week. It was getting a little boring at that point. One day I figured I go a little further so I ran about 4.5 miles. I found out a little more about myself and running that day. I found out that it takes me 3 miles to just warm up. That last 1.5 miles was easier than the first three. I must be on to something new! Well not new, just new to me. I was around that time that I started reading The Big Guy Blog written by Professor and pancake aficionado Ted Spiker and his journey into running as a big guy. That sounded a lot like me and so I joined his Facebook group The Sub-30 Club. A page dedicated to those trying to run a sub 30 minute 5K. This was another great find because the cast of characters on in this group were super supportive and had all levels of runners coming together from all over the country. They confirmed my new found idea of ‘yeah, you can run further’. I also had signed up for another 5K near Presidents day 2013. I had done a little speed interval work and hill running to prep myself. Much to my delight, I recorded a person record of 24:46.
So I started running further. And further. I was planning to do a 10K but had kind of already been running 6 miles for my weekly long runs. So I started on my next journey to train for a half marathon. The Running of the Elk Half Marathon to be precise.
Stay tuned for Part V and my marathon experience.
What an emotional roller coaster these past two days have been. I went from being excited to watch the online tracker of my friend running the marathon and being amazed at her sub 4:00 finish time to being horrified in less that 15 minutes. My friends were there with their two young children and I was nauseated at the though that something bad had happened.
Watching the reports roll in on the internet and the news, my feelings sunk to an all time low. The pictures of blood on the sidewalk are seared into my brain. It simply did not seem real.
As someone who is new to running, I can only dream about running a marathon let alone The Boston Marathon. It is the pinnacle of the sport. Lives were lost, and people who had worked hard all their life to get to this point were robbed at the chance to feel the glory at the finish line.
Since I have been geeking out with running and all its newness, I have come to know how tight a community that runners are part of. I have only run 2 5ks, and 1 half marathon yet feel right at home being called a runner. Online communities like #runchat and The Sub-30 Club on Facebook have shown me what huge hearts runners have. The virtual attaboys when one accomplishes a goal are so encouraging. There is undoubtedly a whole tribe that I was previously not aware of.
One thing I know from my experiences so far is that runners thrive in the face of adversity and only get better with challenges. Pain is temporary whether its emotional or physical. Somehow I think that from this tragedy, more runners will be born. Next years Boston Marathon will have more runners.