For as long as I can remember, I told people "I can't run." But in March of 2009, I decided that this was no longer an option. From my first 5K to my second half marathon, I've endured my highest highs and lowest lows as an official Runner. This year I want to embrace running for something beyond times and distances.

Running is so much more than merely getting out there. I want to get out there and love it.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Ahhh, there it is!

Ok, backstory, so I started getting back into the whole "running thing" end of January into February. A couple runs here and there. Got sick, took a weekish off, blah blah blah. Honestly, the only real thing that got me going again was the fact that I signed up for the Rock n' Sole Summerfest Half Marathon here in Milwaukee back in...???...well, what feels like ages ago and it was probably about time I start training for it. Yeek! Remember at the beginning of the year, my main focus became OTHERS for once? Well talk about a shot of happy juice! Focusing outward, rather than inward, was just what the doctor ordered! I was able to get out of my head and back into what inspired me to run in the first place: the journeys, goals, trials, tribulations, and SUCCESSES of others!

In any case, you already know this mumbo jumbo and I apologize for boring you with my waxing. I have a point! Up to this juncture of--well, I guess I'm calling it "re-training"...a word I never want to use again!--I've kind of been, let's say, mailing it in? Not that I'm blah about running, but basically I have miles I want to get in, days/hours I can do them in, AND I go to the gym. I mean running on a treadmill? That's about as auto-pilot as you can get! In addition to this mentality, I've also had really difficult runs. Like as in...all of them. No run has been easy or even mild. I always end my runs (and these are 2-4 miles ONLY) extremely winded, tired, and wanting to have stopped a mile or two previously. It just FEELS different than when I used to run. I mean duh, I'm nearly starting from scratch. But I keep on keepin' on and I increase the mph even though it's hard. Like real hard.

Well, my friends, I made it. Huh? Where? What now? Yesterday I ran four miles and it was difficult, but GREAT. It just felt, I don't know...RIGHT! I felt strong and my breath wasn't challenged and winded, but rather strong and...purposeful! I honestly said to myself: ahhhhh there it is. The feeling I had been waiting for, but too scared to chase after because of all the ego hoopla from before. I have this little person in my head that says, "guhhhhmyGOD it's JUST running, who cares?!?!" That same little person was putting me on auto pilot this whole time. Telling me just to DO it and check the emotion at the gym door. Well the bubble has done been busted because I tasted what it was like to be proud of myself again!

One of my last posts discussed mantras and because of Beth's jewelry giveaway, I started to wonder...can I adjust my new mantra "I have never finished a run and wished I hadn't done it" into one single word? I can.


The highest high I ever feel (that's um, natural) is after I finish a run, especially an important one! Like a long distance trainer or a race. It is truly an emotion that transcends this world sometimes.

Afterwards. That's what will get stamped onto my trendy necklace tag if I ever snag one ;) I asked if you have a mantra...well here's a dooze: Do you have one SINGLE word that really speaks to you? (Take your time, I had to think about it!)

Monday, April 18, 2011

My heroes.

Just wanted to give a huge shoutout to the subject of my recent blatherings, Beth Risdon. As I previously wrote, she developed a femoral neck stress fracture six months ago, but remained determined to run Boston today. One of those six months were spent in crutches, several not running, and the brunt taking it as easy as her psyche would allow...her longest training run was 15 miles, a mere two miles over a Half Marathon, with the bulk of her training done in a local pool water-running. Training is only half the battle as it was also Beth's determination, guts, and confidence that got her to Boston. Although she was determined to take this race easy as finishing was her main goal, it's quite possible that the last few miles were totally grueling as her physical state began to break down, and she had to rely on sheer will to carry her the rest of the way. And I can only imagine a fraction of the euphoria that triumphed over the pain and exhaustion she felt as she crossed the finish line. I hope, above all else, she felt an enormous sense of pride!

I really don't know Beth from Henrietta, but following her story has been nothing short of inspirational. It's been said that about 1% of the population will run a marathon in their lifetime. I wonder what percentage of the population daydreams about running a marathon, but...just...doesn't. All I'm saying is that seemingly ginormous goals truly are attainable when we work hard at them. Yeah yeah, cliche, but it's an important piece of the puzzle that is so often trumped by giving into adversity (there's no adversity in my life and I STILL have trouble sticking to my goals!)

In any case, here's to people everywhere who set their sights on a goal that is anything but a sure thing. Here's to people who take risks, who own the trials they may face, who earn their accolades for the work they put in. Thanks for being an inspiration to us all!

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Words to live by

Mantras are wonderful things, and you gotta live by mantras that speak personally to you. My usual life mantra is "the sweet is never as sweet without the sour," picked up from Jason Lee's character in Vanilla Sky. Good feels a hell of a lot better when we have a bad batch of bad to compare it to.

Then there's the one I constantly throw around to my friends, family, and total strangers "life is not designed for our comfort, but for our struggle, for in struggle there is growth." And to add to that: I believe growth gives us purpose--something to live for--and I don't know about you, but I find comfort in that!

As for running, the world is bursting with inspirational mottos. But something I found today really hit home for me: yet another gem from SUAR Girl aka Beth Risdon:

"I have never finished a run and wished I hadn't done it."

It's not complicated and it's something I can calmly digest when my alarm goes off at 5:30am. Or when I'm exhausted at the end of a classic Kohl's day and didn't listen to my alarm at 5:30am. Or when a half marathon seems daunting as I'm losing energy at Mile 4.

I've never finished a run and wished I hadn't done it.

No matter how frustrated we get on our runs that don't go so well, deep down we know we're ridiculously awesome for having gotten out there. A few more miles on the old shoes is a badge of honor no matter how shitty we felt that day.

Do you have a personal motto or mantra that helps you get out of your warm oven of a bed or through the hot magma you occasionally feel like you're running in?

[Sidebar: I got a really good motto in an email from running-bud Claire: "Get comfortable with being uncomfortable." Now THAT says running haha!]