well, it is not an exact science after all, since i didn't begin tracking my mileage for a couple months, but it was in january that i began to run, 2 years ago. on my old blog site i posted this towards the end of february:
jimmy and i are going to run the lilac festival 10k. this is a big deal for a couple of fatties or former fatties... or current fatties.. i guess it depends on which incarnation of ourselves you are comparing us to, or who else is in the room. but we've been running for about 2 1/2 months now.. not fast and it ain't pretty... but it will give us something to work towards. we may finish dead last, but i would love to finish. keep your fingers crossed.
thinking back to that time i clearly remember how much i hated to run. basically - jim said he wanted to train for a 10k and i HAD to do it with him. there was just no way he was going to be a runner and i wasn't. by the end of march i had made it up to 3 miserable miles and wondered to myself how there was any freaking way possible i'd be able to go twice as far. then on march 31st i was at the library and i saw it. Ultramarathon Man was sitting on a little pedestal next to the checkout. and the still small voice told me, "pick it up." and i told the still small voice that it was completely crazy, that the book jacket said that this dude was an "all night runner" and that i just wanted to run 6 miles and what the heck did i have in common with that lunatic? and the still small voice said, "don't argue with me, dummy. i put that there for you. pick it up and put it in your pile". well, you and i both know that it is futile to argue with the still small voice, so i took the silly book with me. at home i laid the kids down for their naps and i reluctantly hunkered down with the book. i didn't move again (except to get the kids up) for 4 hours, while i read the whole thing straight through. yes, it was a good book.. well written, funny, interesting. i had no idea that people did such things, that it was possible, safe, available etc. but what really kept me reading was this compulsion to complete the change that was taking place inside of me. you see, it was about halfway through the book and something... some puzzle piece that had gone missing, that i never knew WAS missing, dropped into it's previously vacant slot. a sleeping giant was awoken inside of me. in that one afternoon my heart took it's first beats as an ultra endurance athlete. my body didn't know how, yet, but that was a formality. one day i was going to run really far like dean karnazes. one day i was going to run all night long. i was not scared about whether or not i'd be able to.. to me it was a forgone conclusion. quietly i went on with the rest of my day, wondering how the world around me could keep turning and everyone else could go on as if nothing had happened, when my entire world had just shifted on it's axis.
and now i am here, thinking about 2 years of running, remembering where it started and contemplating where it's going. i have been asked about dreams or ultimate goals before, yet i suppose i can't answer that question. even my short term goals are constantly evolving, which is a function of my potential, and my self belief. from the beginning i have said that i'd always be a participant, never a competitor. maybe it was a cop out. maybe there is this fat, bench warming kid inside of me still who says that i am good enough to come to practice and ride the bench, but that the coach would never put me in. i've thought i didn't have the genetics or the toughness or the dedication. but that's just dumb.
2 years ago i wondered how i'd ever be able to run 6 miles without stopping to walk, i ran with misery and heart threatening to pound out of my chest, i ran with fear of failure and white knuckles. and i sit here and shake my head thinking about someone in my club who just signed up for a 200 mile race and i think, now that's crazy. i could never do that. but then i remember how frightened and desperate for confidence i was that day i picked up dean's book. and now i am thinking about 4-6 ultra races this year. here sits a woman who finished a 20 mile training run this weekend with an average pace of 9:30, when a year ago it was 12:30. and i wonder whether i have the right to dream of winning races someday. of running 100 miles in less than 24 hours. of mountain running. of getting into races that you have to qualify for.
yeah. yeah, i have the right to dream! you tell that girl who huffed and puffed through the 2 mile loop around her neighborhood for the first time 2 years ago that she can't do whatever she wants. maybe i don't have the genetics. but i have the will. the passion. belief in myself.
what else can 2 years bring? where will i be on my 32nd birthday? dreaming of 3 hour marathons? dreaming of age group wins, top 3 overall females, course records?
why NOT me? give me a good reason. you don't have one, do you? neither do i.
it's been a wonderful 2 years. running has brought me to places literally and figuratively i would have never seen before. the intense fatigue and pain of distance running can bring about such a dark night of the soul, an emotional monster that you would have never faced otherwise. surviving that encounter tells you something about who you are that would have been left undiscovered. setting and achieving a goal, watching your body change, seeing yourself improve it is life changing, life affirming, God honoring.
yes - running has taken a lot from me. time, energy, money for gear and races. but what it has given me in return is almost too big for words. a happy anniversary it is indeed.
thank you thank you jimmy for pushing me out of my comfort zone... for supporting me in this passion, for running beside me, for watching the monsters so i can pound pavement. there is no way i could do this unless you supported me. i am so happy that i get to share the journey... all of it, with you.