Sunday, February 10, 2013

This Girl is On Fire

A year ago I ran my first race. Me. The girl who bitched and moaned and was a general pain in the ass to every Phys. Ed. teacher I ever had... Sorry Mr. Krom. Mr. Zinke. I owe you an apology.  While I've always been attracted to fitness, "working out," doing outdoorsy, physical things-- I've never actually been much for competition, perhaps because I know I'm not particularly good at any of those things and I am a little embarrassed. The best thing about getting older is I've started to not care so much and the best thing about running is that while it is a race against other people, most of the time I am running against myself. Trying for a new personal best.

The seed for this was sown when I read the Facebook updates about my friend Richard's first marathon experience. I'd been keeping up with my pal Leah's adventures for years and while I admired it, I never sought to emulate it in any way. Richard should be running marathons. Not only was he a cross country kiddo in high school but now he coaches it.  So, I shouldn't have surprised me that he ran the Minneapolis Marathon in  2:40:29 finishing 56 out of the 4,858 males that ran and 66 of the 8,533 total runners with an average of  6:08 per mile for the 26.2 miles he ran! But it still blew me away. I can't run ONE mile in 6:08 minutes... more like 11 minutes. Still it was inspiring and it made me want to push myself. 

After learning about the four-person relay option for the Fargo Marathon, I did the unthinkable, I recruited three colleagues and we signed up. With that in mind I  knew I needed to actually run one race before the main event in May and thus began this crazy new passion. 

Emily and I ran a 5k the Frozen Feat in Feb. 2012 and in the mildest winter in my recollection we happened to run on a day with subzero temps. Nice. Still I lived to tell the tale and even ran in another race in May. 

 Emily and Me (I look like a ninja, run like a senior citizen)

My training was minimal in all of this and yet even as the big race loomed (I was running 7 miles in my leg) I was still unable to run an entire 5k without having to walk. Most of my prep work went into designing a good tee shirt for our team and working out my playlist. I was getting nervous. Then about a week before the race I did something different. Music? Mood? Time of day? I don't know. But I found my groove. Got my slog on (slooooow jog) and I ran nearly 5 miles without even trying... Then a few days later I ran 8. Suddenly I wasn't worried anymore and the race was pure joy. 

A few days before the race I mentioned it to my mother who seemed wholly unaware that I was doing this big thing. And she asked tentatively... do you think you could win? Umm. No. But I loved that she asked, betraying her innocence and perhaps her overconfidence in my superpowers. I am going to be happy to finish, I told her. But they do give medals for participating. It's no lie. I am motivated by swag.

 My next race was the Bismarck Marathon Relay and it was a five person race with four friends from there. We had a theme. Neon Ninjas. It was fun and while we weren't speedy we had a good time and for three of my team it was a first race ever.

Two weeks later, I ran a 2 person relay for the Grand Forks Wild Hog Half Marathon. It was awesome. Great course. Beautiful day. Beer and good food waiting at the end.  My friend Brandy and I ran that one together and this year I've signed up again for my next bigger and better challenge. I'm going for the whole  half. 13.1.  

Sometime around September I decided I was going to run a race a month like my pal Jes who is also a great inspiration in her passion and drive for running. In September I managed two races, October 2 races, and then in November I did what I called a "treadmill" 5k and in December I did on one the indoor track at the gym. But in January I did a virtual race as a fundraiser for the Sandy Hook tragedy. That one I did outside on a lovely winter day along the bike path. Very satisfying.

Now the Frozen Feat is coming up again and I'm really excited to see what it's like a year later. I have a costume planned though the race doesn't call for them. I figure if you can't be fast, be funny.

I put a fair amount of stock in the mental game and for me the music I run to. I figured out I was starting too fast and burning out and so if I can just find my "happy pace" I can settle in and enjoy the experience. My first song has been "Halo" by Beyonce for the past few races but this time I'm switching it up... "This Girl is on Fire" is the new starting song and I expect it will do just fine.

  Jenn and I running the 10k in the Fargo Mini-Marathon in October 2012

  Jennifer, Jessica and I running the Monster Dash 5k in Bismarck in October 2012

When I was young my dad used to tell us stories about our awesome Uncle Davy. How he used to train during football season and would run from the farm to town. TEN miles. It was amazing to me and that was how my dad intended it. He was amazed by his brother and his drive and I loved to hear about it and to hear the pride in his voice as he talked about those days. Though this has little do with that, I do like to think my dad would be proud of me too and would tell his friends with that same sort of voice about his crazy daughter who was running in marathons. I'm sure he'd neglect the part of it being a 1/2 marathon or a relay and people would be amazed and frankly they should be either way. I mostly just like to watch TV.

1 comment:

Jennifer Noble said...

great job...glad you had fun doing it too. truth be told, I can't imagine it any other way!


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