to all of my internet friends who don’t have the pleasure of dealing/talking/seeing me everyday, my blog is a great representation of me. i’m joking around and having a good time 98% of the time, but i do have a serious side too. it doesn’t come out too often because i try not to take life too seriously. this post is not so much about food but something else that is very important me, my other hobby and my support system.
i am a runner.
it didn’t hit me until the middle of august when i was on a 6 mile wednesday morning run. here are some topics that usually cross my mind when running…
- what am i going to eat when i’m done?
- please let the next stoplight be green so i can stop
- how much further?
- god i want to walk.
- how far is my long run this weekend?
- why am i doing this again?
- i enjoy running! right?
as you can see, all positive thoughts right? but it hit me as i was coming up on my last mile, it was a cool 82 degrees, with 84% humidity and i felt great. i am a runner.
i’ve run a handful of half marathons but at no time during any of them did i feel like a runner. yes, i liked running, but it was still a chore. even when running 10+ miles as my long runs i didn’t feel like i deserved the title of a “runner.” i’ve played basketball, tennis, golf, swam ever since i was a little kid, and i have played soccer my whole life. i was a soccer player. i still play soccer in a an adult league but sometime last season i realized it was now becoming a chore. soccer use to be the highlight of my week. i got to hangout with friends and do something that i loved. now my fears were becoming, what it i get hurt and can’t run? i missed the baltimore 1/2 marathon last october due to a soccer injury. i could not afford for that to happen now.
it took me a year to really get running and have it work for me. i’ve put stress on my getting my miles in and not actually enjoying putting in the work. i ran my first 1/2 marathon last september and got hooked to the distance, my next 1/2 marathon i was able to run, this past march, i PRed (personal record) by 30 minutes. after that i decided i need another challenge, the marine corps marathon in octber. my first marathon.
my training has been life changing. cheesy? yes. but true.
i have become passionate about my running. i wake up every morning before work to beat the heat and get in my daily maintenance runs. i can’t tell you the last time i slept past 5:30 on a saturday morning, double digit miles must be done before the humidity eats you alive. i love running. i don’t dread it, i look forward to it and i feel guilty if i miss a day. i have learned to have a relationship with the pavement. i take my frustrations about life out on the pavement and it rewards me with a downhill, when i get conceited the pavement gives me a hill to bring me back to reality. the pavement has become my best friend and my sanctuary and has made me a runner.
this sunday i take on my biggest life challenge so far, the marine corps marathon.
i believe anyone can do it. running is 1/2 physical, 1/2 mental. the mental part being the hardest to overcome out of the two. you can do anything you put your mind to, and you have to put in the work. it means missing friday happy hours, waking up early on saturday mornings during summer vacations, choosing a protein shake over a donut, and cutting skype conversations short during the week. but the end result is worth it all.
you need to figure out what you’re running for and find a support system.
this is why i run
- to eat
- the high i get when i finish 20 miles before some people even wake up on saturdays
- physical strength
- mental strength
- release work and life stresses
- to prove to the haters i’m not crazy and can do anything i put my mind to
my support system (without all of them i would never have gotten to this point)
- my new running partner. she pushes me and has literally picked me up when i didn’t think i could go 1 more mile, she’s fast and she pushes me to go even faster. she was my coworker, but has become my coach, friend, and saturday morning sounding board.
- my coworkers. there are 5 of us at my company running the marine corps marathon. two are elite runners who will have finished, eaten breakfast and be on their way home by the time i finish, but they’re both always asking me and my partner how are runs are going and pumping us up. the other person is my publisher (the big big boss) who asks me everyday how my run was and shares his runs with me as well. when i complained about my calves being sore, he bought me The Stick as a present to help me recover and stay on track. he’s the best boss i’ve ever worked for!
- the cab drivers outside of the crystal city marriott. they started by just moving out of my way but have slowly become my favorite part of my weekly runs. they clap and cheer for me and are just want i need at mile 2 every morning. what cracks me up is they come from the land of elite runners, ethiopia, and could probably all out run me!
- my amazing friends. it was tough for them at the beginning when i had to continuously turn down happy hours and weeknight margaritas on rooftops. now they all check up on my long runs and their jaws drop every time i tell them how many miles i’ve run during the week. one of them even got to be part of a saturday long run when she had to bail me out off the side of the road when my car ran out of gas! one of them, my old running partner even trained and ran the baltimore 1/2 marathon with me a couple weeks ago. many of them will be there along the course and at the finish line to help me celebrate, and probably to drink with me again.
- =PR= distance running program. every saturday i get to wake up and see jeff’s smiling face being more excited to run double digit miles than anybody i know. if you’re training for a 10 miler, 1/2 marathon, or full marathon, join a training team. they hold you accountable, cheer you on, and give the best advice. i look forward to the wednesday emails telling all 75 of us how far we’re going and giving tips to make us even better runners. when you’re running this many miles every week it helps knowing that 74 other people are all going through the exact same thing as you.
- my mom and dad. they are still trying to figure out where my sister and i come from. neither of them are runners, but they are the best cheerleaders and just genuinely proud of my sister, brother in law, and i for giving it our all and running distance races. they drop us off at races, take pictures, proudly wait at the finish line with my nephew who provides the high five to get you through the last quarter mile stretch, and give out loads of hugs. even when they can’t be at races they will track me via text and i will have a text message congratulating me when i pick up my bag from bag check. never ones to miss a first anything, they will be making the trek up to dc to watch me cross the finish line along with my sister and nephew.
- my sister and brother in law. they too are runners. they met running cross country and running just comes to them. my sister asked me to sign up for the va beach rock & roll 1/2 marathon last summer and i credit it to her for getting me into running. i ran my first 1/2 marathon with her and when she’s ready i promise to run her first marathon with her. my brother in law has run a handful of marathons and is training to qualify for boston, and he is constantly answering my questions and giving me advice on my training.
- baked spaghetti boy. he’s never run more than 3 miles, he’s never been to one of my races, but he’s my biggest support. part of the reason i signed up for the marathon was to make the last four months of his year in afghanistan fly by. with the 8.5 hour time difference i’m only able to talk to him for a short amount of time, that is when i can actually skype with him. without fail though, his first question to me is always “how was your run?” when i had run through my shoes he bought me a new pair. now every morning is a reminder of his support for my training. when i had been battling fatigue from the humidity he sent me an electrolyte substance to keep me going. when i couldn’t recover fast enough he suggested more protein shakes. when all of my friends couldn’t get on board with my training, he was there. when he was home for part of my training he never once gave me slack for getting up and logging the miles. instead pushed me out of the bed, worried about me not keeping my pace and had a protein shake waiting for me at the end. he’s been there since the beginning of the training, he returns home for good on wednesday and he will be waiting at the finish line to witness what he’s helped me through every step of the way.
i would say wish me luck, but thanks to all of those people i know i’ll be just fine. thank you to everyone i listed and to those who i probably forgot. i’m so thankful to have all of you in my life and your support during my training.
now, let’s go do this!