Monday, December 27, 2010

Christmas, long run and being a runner

Well hello blog friends, I hope everyone had a fantastic Christmas.

Things were nice here. I got my Under Armour (Yippee!) but I kind of hate how the pants fit (booo!) I'm going back to Sports Authority for a different cut or size... once I get out from under the mounds of snow that dumped on us. (Sadly, no run today but I did shovel a lot of snow that I'm counting as a cross training thing...)

Christmas Eve I awoke with a nasty head cold, a stressed out husband, a hyper toddler and a shit-load lot of stuff to do and the prospect of going for a long run sounded close to impossible but then I thought to myself, WWJD (that's right - what would Jason do) and I promptly got dressed for my long run. Runny nose, scratchy throat and weary glare from my husband and all.  I did it. 10 miles. An hour and fifty odd minutes of running... But here's what was tough about those 10 miles - not the guilt of leaving my overwhelmed hubby or the throbbing sinus headache, or even my frozen thighs or sweat soaked (shame on me, cotton tee shirt) - what bothered me was that I had to be the slowest runner in the park. I mean who would you expect to be in the park at 7AM, Christmas Eve morning at 28 degrees? Not slackers and joggers but serious athlete types - I ran with as much dignity as I could muster as lanky hardcore runners in tights flew by me and my lousy 11:50 something pace like I was standing still. The first few were fine but after a while I started to feel demoralized, like, even though I was doing something that was totally "athletic" like - running 10 miles while most were still snuggled in bed and with a nasty cold no less, I felt like a fraud runner who was once again the kid picked last in gym. I tried to pep talk myself, "I'm running ten miles!" "I'm 38, formerly massively overweight, never ran before 10 months ago in my life!" I told myself to stop comparing myself to 20 year olds who probably were running track since they could walk. The pep talk helped a little, but I was still bummed by being so slow and so outrun by everyone on the planet.

Don't get me wrong, I'm proud of my accomplishments even if I have a hard time accepting my limitations sometimes. My husbands attempt of trying to make me feel better didn't help, "Well, you're not a real runner, or an athlete... these people are "real" runners." OUCH. He's a non-runner. How do you explain to someone that once you start running like this, that all you are is a runner. How saying "You're not a real runner" is like the worst thing you could say. Ahhhh. I tried. Never mind.

It's OK, I know I'm a runner. I know it down to my toes. I got up and did an easy 3 miles on Christmas too - because I wanted to.  I even know that I might have more athlete in me. If I had more money, time and resources, I would be signing up for a tri now I know I would be... While right now is not the time, that's in my future.

I'm reading Dean Karnazes's book, Ultra Marathon Man (I actually met with him back in 2005 for a show development thing in a past job- long before running and before I knew him as a rockstar / running God.  Damn. If I'd only had that meeting now!) Oh well, anyhow, he gave me a copy of his book when we met and I dug it out of my old box of stuff and started reading it. It's an awesome book of inspiration - he talks a lot about running beyond physical and running with heart. Digging deep and never giving up.

I know I'm a runner because of that passion and heart. Running helps me to set goals, teaches me to dig deep, believe in myself and finish what I start. Sometimes you soar across a finish line, sometimes you crawl but get there and never give up. The desire to finish strong, the desire to take on the next big race and the ability to push ourselves beyond what we ever thought possible is what sets us apart from others. So I guess, though I might be the slowest kid in the park, at least I'm a kid who showed up at the park and will always finish the run, any run, one mile at a time.

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